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We are a family of fifteen: eight already with Jesus and seven in desperate need of Him. This is the story God is writing in our lives. Proverbs 16:9

Monday, May 30, 2011

Whose the Boss?

I specifically told myself I wouldn't let this happen~ Since last year, I vowed that if we got a dog, he would not be an Alpha Male. I did not want to worry about what happened last year happening again. What dog has God provided us? An Alpha Male.

First, it was new children. A friend of mine brought her kiddos by to see the puppy... the cute, sweet puppy. Anakin began growling, then snapping at the oldest girl. Then later in the day, he decided to do the same with Elijah.

So how did I react to my aggressive 4.6 lb. puppy when he chose to act this way? I crumbled. Immediately I remembered the dog attack and let him have his way with me, too. I had no idea what to do. You have to understand that I am not a dog person. I have had one dog in my life that I was only able to keep for a while. I think she just had a docile, sweet nature. I had been reading for days about how to raise a healthy, happy, obedient puppy but apparently Anakin hadn't read the same books. It reminded me of when Andrew came into the world and I was shocked that he didn't understand a eat-awake-sleep schedule!

After an evening of regrouping (i.e. Micah lovingly sending me to have some grown-up time out of the situation), I concluded that I have to be what dog trainers call the pack leader. This is a new hat for me and one I realized I needed to put on quickly. It was also clear that Micah and I had to encourage the boys to show dominance to Anakin after we establish a clear hierarchical structure for the little guy. So how did we do it? From my reading, I remembered a suggestion: I picked up my fuzzy pup, looked deep into his eyes, and growled. As a mom, you end up in situations that one could never imagine and I have to say this now is near the top of my experiential list! Anakin went limp and from then on, things have been better. Micah, being a natural-born male (thank goodness:)) was already on the top of the chain of command.

After gaining control of Anakin, Micah and I sat the boys down and told them, "If we are going to keep this dog, you have to show him that you both are the boss." They made it clear they wanted to keep him thus the people training began. After just a few minutes, Elijah and Andrew were petting Anakin and even forcing him onto his back and rubbing his belly. I made it perfectly clear when he began to growl just how inappropriate that was (a can of pennies and a guttural "NO!" are pretty effective tools:)) and thankfully, it has stuck so far. The discipline is effective and so is the praise. I have heard "That's a good boy!" come out of my mouth in the most ridiculous sounding voice too many times to count. I don't know who has the better reaction~ Anakin or Micah as he laughs and rolls his eyes at me. After a few days, the boys are getting more and more confident handling Anakin. Now, he just wants to play with them all the time! After just one more beginning-to-growl-which-I-immediately-handled incident, he has done really well! We have him signed up for obedience classes in a few weeks as well, so we hope this will give us an even better handle on him. He seems to be a really intelligent dog and young enough that we can establish some healthy habits in him. He already obeys "come", "sit", and "drop it" and has heard "no bite" enough that I think he could almost say it himself:) All in all, we are all growing together. I think this is going to be really good for our family; especially for Andrew and Elijah.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011


Well, today our family grew yet a bit more! Anakin Skywalker Hooper Childs joined us! It was quite a drive to pick him up so we all had a few hours of eager anticipation. The moment we met him lived up to the excitement. We first met his parents, who were equally if not more excited than we were. Andrew was a little freaked out at this point, but then Anakin came through the door. He was mild mannered, cuddly, and immediately appreciated all the attention he was getting. The trip home was uneventful except for everyone catering to Anakin's every need, want, or possible desire. It seemed perfectly natural for him to hang out with us in the van. We quickly realized we had the wrong size collar (He is really really small!) so we had to run by PetSmart. The sales lady quickly dashed all our hopes that we are ready for a dog (oh well:)) but we did leave with some hope knowing his new collar/harness will definitely fit! As he settles in, Elijah says, "I love him and all the things we can do with him!" and Andrew, "He's nice and calm!" For me, I am happy to report: no accidents YET. My super-manly husband loves him, too. I guess we're all suckers for our cute little puppy.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

The Newest Addition

When we were in the midst of moving all over the country, Elijah began asking for a dog. Not Andrew, I might add. Then last year, July 4th to be exact, after Elijah was attacked by a small dog, I was sure that was going to change his request. I was wrong.

Micah and I decided to answer Elijah with "When we get settled down in one place and if God blesses us with a Chick-fil-a, we will talk about it." Elijah's translation, "When Daddy gets a Chick-fil-a, we are getting a dog!!!"

So you can imagine the conversations over the past couple of months. Elijah will say things like, "Mommy, when it's my buwfday, you don't have to get me a boy cake; just a dog bone cake for my dog" and "I just can't wait to feel my dog's fuzzy fuw!" and then close his eyes and smile as he imagined what that might be like.

Then Andrew, the terrified-of-dogs-big-brother, joined in, "I know I am afraid of dogs, but Elijah really wants one. And I would be good with that. Let's all surprise him!" He would then proceed to plan just how the surprise would go down.

Then the name suggestions started pouring in. These were some of the choices:

General Grievious
Captain America
Sweet Potato

Now let me assure you, we see many things in life as growing experiences:) Micah and I have been talking about whether or not this was even an option and were prepared to break the news if it just wasn't going to work. Being very logically minded, we did come up with a list of pros and cons. We live in an apartment right now, and that was a huge concern. We learned through lots and lots of research that there are dogs who don't mind apartments and who love being closer to families. After back and forth, back and forth, we decided to take the plunge. Maybe we are crazy, but it seems as good a time as any to welcome a little pup into our home. We have all had to endure so much loss over the last few months, it will be nice to have a new life running around. I am also convinced that the experience of raising a puppy will be educational for us all; especially the boys. Then, we found "him". After looking for very specific breeds would fit best our family, we found a group of pups a couple of hours away. We were sent pictures of his parents and I quickly realized they resemble dogs my grandparents had and loved when I was young. Immediately, I was sold.

Anakin Skywalker Hooper Childs will join us next Wednesday. He is a Cairn Terrier (like Toto from the Wizard of Oz). We are very excited! I will post pictures of him as soon as I can!