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Since I will undoubtedly mention him in every post, I’d like to introduce you to the (puppy) love of my life, Oliver. As you can see from the formal portrait, I am a crazy dog lady. I will not deny the truth, but I will point out that the photo shoot was to raise money for a local shelter. Oliver is a Boston Terrier, and recently celebrated his second birthday (at In-N-Out). So how did this 30 pound chunklestein come to rule my world and turn my parents (staunch non-dog folks) into baby-talkin’, puppy walkin’ hot doggers?

It all started in the summer of 2009… I’d been wanting a dog for years, but knew my busy work and school schedule wouldn’t allow it. In June, the Fates closed one door (my job) and opened another (oodles of free time to train a puppy), and my quest for a dog began. Boston Terriers were already my #1 choice, so I took the plunge and emailed a breeder I’d found (and Googled nearly to death). I put down my deposit and waited, as the pups were still fuzzy buns in their momma’s oven. The breeder emailed me one day in August to let me know the puppies had been born and I could finally pick out the one I wanted. I saw that photo above and fell in love. Well, that’s half right. I saw that pic and my heart said, “aww!”, then I saw another photo of the puppy waddling around and that’s when I fell in love. Oliver’s chunky monkey buns tugged on my heart strings, and there was no looking back.

I still had to wait nine long weeks until I could get my hands on him, and I read everything I could to turn myself into a puppy whispering fool. I also got tons of good info from my friends with dogs, so when the time came to  drive out to Palm Springs to pick him up, I had a good grasp on what to expect. I may have been ready, but my parents were harder to win over. My mom (aka Maria) wasn’t too tough a nut to crack, but my dad remained aloof. Any reservations Maria had melted away the moment she saw the breeder hand Oliver over to me. I heard a gasp and she said, in a dreamy voice, “Vanessa! I didn’t know he’d be so cute!”. Oh, Maria! Oliver won my dad over all on his own, all it took was Oliver falling asleep on my dad’s slippered feet and wiggling his little puppy butt whenever my dad walked into the room.

And just like that, our family had not only added a new member, but reconnected like never before. I read a lot about the benefits of having pets (improved brain function, lower blood pressure, etc.), but I never imagined the new life Oliver would breathe into our family. Suddenly we were all interacting for more than five minutes a day, bonding over our shared Oliver stories or just watching him romping around the yard. We still all laugh at the first time we heard Oliver bark – he’d been with us a few days, and saw himself in the mirror for the first time. He was not amused by the doppelganger and tried to pounce on the a-hole copy cat dog in the mirror.

So when you find yourself thinking, “this crazy puta… what is with her and that dog?” Try to remember that the reason I spoil that little dog, and give him everything he wants, is that he gave my family a whole new lease on life. Because of Oliver, we’re acting like a real family again and are even getting healthier with daily walks. Plus, as you can see, he’s picked up some skills and is training hard to be a part of the Virgin America flight crew. Momma didn’t raise a lazy dog, okay!