Thursday, December 1, 2011
Over 13 years ago Cliff and I decided it was time we expanded our family - our unofficial family since we had only been dating a year. I had loved beagles and I thought that was the only dog to get. So I set out on finding a beagle puppy. I have no idea of there was a website like Petfinder.com back then...wait - was there even the Internet back then? Who knows...but I looked in the paper..old fashioned classified section. I found someone who advertised beagle puppies. When I called, they had sold all of their dogs, but another one of their beagles was having puppies soon and I could get the "pick of the litter"
Brady was born on July 11, 1998. He had 3 brothers and 2 sisters. This was his mom's first litter (this proves important later). I don't remember much about his dad. 4 weeks later we went to meet the puppies. I only wanted a male so we only looked at the 4 boy dogs. They were definitely not all the same. There was one dominant one. Fatty as Cliff and I nicknamed him. He was the biggest. Then there was the smallest - the runt. Then there was Brady and another pup. We played with them all, but one obviously liked us the best and engaged us the most. I was wearing a long skirt (yes I wore a skirt and long ones were in style back then.) and Brady would roll onto his back and bite the bottom of my skirt. I was in love! We could tell Brady from the rest of them because he had a white stripe that went from his nose all the way up and over his head and down to a white patch on his neck.
On September 5th, labor day weekend, We drove down to Eyota, MN to pick him up. We were so excited. We were given a small collar and scrap of a towel that was in the beds his brothers and sisters slept in so he can have familiar smells with him in his new home. As any new mom would, I sat in the back seat and held him. He cried a bit as we drove away but his tail was thumping the whole time. We didn't go far this first car ride. Cliff's parents lived close by in Rochester so we spent the afternoon there with them. He ran in their yard, we played pull, we held him and he jumped his way into our hearts immediately. Especially into my father-in-law's. From the beginning, he and Brady has a special bond.
Back then we lived in an apartment - a 2 bedroom apartment so we had alot of space for just us. Brady did the typical thing as we got into the apartment for the first time. He sniffed every inch. Every nook and cranny was not immune to his sniffing.
Since he was still a baby, we had to teach him lost of things that first year, how to go outside, walk on a leash (that was interesting - you just put it on them all the time - this helped when we had to get him out of small spaces), walk up and down stairs and sleep in his crate.
He was a funny little puppy. He would run around like crazy and then just fall over where he stood and fall asleep. His favorite toy was the toilet brush. he would carry it in his mouth and try and attach things to the bristle end, like my slipper socks, and then attempt to shake it off. HILARIOUS!! He would drag towels around -towels that were 3x his size.
That first few months were so much fun. We took him to sit on Santa's lap, took him to dog parks, PetSmart...anywhere we could take him we did. At around 4 months he developed a protruded 3rd eyelid gland in both eyes. It was extremely gross to look at but more of a cosmetic issue than medical - but we opted to have them tacked back down at the same time as we had him neutered.
Since we both worked far from our apartment, those first few months, we had a neighbor come in and walk Brady a few times a day. She also had a beagle puppy, Levi, and he and Brady became fast friends.
Brady didn't let the beagle breed down. He stole as much food as he possibly could. Visitors were his favorite, not only for their attention but because they didn't understand how diligently they had to guard their food. He escaped on searches for more food as much as he could. Luckily, he never go too far. With all that food hunting, you would think Brady would have been an overweight dog. NOPE. We were able to keep him slim and trim. He was gorgeous. Big floppy ears, beautiful thin coat, big brown eyes.
The one thing that Brady hated the most was his crate, or even being locked up anywhere. When we got him, we purchased a very nice plastic crate. Over the years, Brady scratched so much at the walls of the crate, that he actually scratched though the plastic. Through it!! Well that was the end of that. We got the hint...no more crates.
When Cliff and I decided to make it official and get married, Brady was even mentioned in our ceremony. He was that integral to our lives. Later that year we moved into our house. We made sure that we had a fenced in yard for him and plenty of windows to look out. He loved the house. The yard was his favorite. He would run around, chase bunnies and squirrels and lick the grass.
When I got pregnant with H, I really didn't think I could love my child as much as I loved my dog. Really, I actually thought that. And boy did I get alot of crap..because I actually told people that. But my heart just grew and I loved them both, and obviously as I soon realized, in different ways.
Since Brady was older when the kids were born, he wasn't as connected with them. C had more of a connection with him than H. H really just left him alone and vice versa. C loved petting him, hugging and kissing him. And Brady in return would check on her as she slept, wake her up in the morning and sniff her face. It was a really nice relationship.
When I think of Brady now, I think of all those things, but mostly I think of his favorites:
Brady loved to steal food, especially chicken or turkey (just ask grandpa - when he stole a whole turkey breast off of his plate one thanksgiving), his purple ball, to play chase, his red lobster lobby, to pee in the house (under my bed and in C's room in particular - the result of being in his mom's first litter), to chase squirrels, bark/howl at the mailman (his arch enemy), to sleep curled up on the right side of the couch, to sit up on his tush and beg (which he taught himself), to bark at your when he wanted to sit where you were sitting or for you to let him out, to run around in the back yard, to walk on the back of the furniture like a cat, to sit on the arm of the chair and look out the window, to lay in the sun, to lick your tears (I always hoped it was because he didn't want me to be sad - but I am sure it was because tears were salty), to sit on my lap like a lap dog - even though he was way too big for that, to sleep in the crux of my legs, to be a furnace when he would sleep next to me, to jump up high in the air like a jack rabbit when you were about to feed him dinner, to be as cute as can be.
I love you Brady - you were my first baby - and I will miss you forever
Brady Jack Levine Berg July 11, 1998 - November 25, 2011.
I have 2 young kids. We occasionally (ok sometimes more than occasionally) eat fast food. So 2 weekends ago we found ourselves hungry (fancy that at noon we were hungry) and no desire to find something in our house. So we went over to BURGER KING®. Have you seen the new BURGER KING® kids meals? They are pretty sweet. Each one comes with a crown. Both kids loved that! It comes in a pretty cool new box that has games and activities all over it. And with the BK CROWNTM/MC Program, Burger King Corporation invites kids to tell BURGER KING® what matters to them most. BKC has established a fund to help support the Wildlife Conservation Society, National Parks Conservation Association, DonorsChoose.org and Have It Your WayTM Foundation. By visiting BKCrown.com, kids learn how BKC´s charitable partners make a difference. Upon entering BK CROWNTM/MC Codes and clicking on their favorite cause, each kid´s vote helps BK® choose which charity to give back to.
Want to check it out, Thanks to MyBlogSpark and BURGER KING®, I am giving away a $25 gift card to Burger King.
To enter the giveaway -
Just leave a comment on this post telling me: Why is it important for your family to have a fun mealtime experience?
This is a quick one, winners will be drawn and announced on Tuesday December 6th.
The Winner is #3 - Ashley. Congratulations. I will email you.