"Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.” Joshua 24:15

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Dover, Xander, Koda--Whatever His Name Is

We have an addition to our family.  I think his name is Koda, but  I'm not quite sure.  He's eight weeks old and utterly adorable.  One of the best things though, is that he's laid back.  He's also quiet and paper trained. YES!!!  Acquiring our new puppy was definitely a God thing.  I mean, I've been looking and looking practically everywhere for a  Golden Retriever.  I didn't care what age--old, young; it didn't matter to me.  I just knew that I wanted to adopt a Golden.  I mean, we adored Sam, our Golden Retriever that recently passed away, and we wanted another one just like him.  Over the past two weeks, I'd applied at a few shelters and rescue centers, however, I had yet to hear anything back from any of them.  Thus, my patience was wearing thin.

I did, however, learn that Golden Retrievers are rarely  ever at shelters and they are extremely expensive to buy from breeders.  I really don't believe in buying from breeders when there are so many dogs in shelters, however, I was seriously wanting a Golden and wasn't getting anywhere.  So....I continued to look online, put in my zip code, do searches, etc.  Every time I would find one within a relatively short distance, I would call and the shelter would either tell me that he/she had already been adopted out or that I had to complete an application and have a home check.  All of which would take quite a while.  So...I would complete the application and wait for the phone call for a home visit, and it had yet to  come.

That's why I so excited yesterday when I saw Koda and his brother and sister listed on an adoption website.  I called the shelter and sure enough, all three were still there ready and waiting to be adopted.  It was already late in the afternoon, and the shelter was over 2 1/2 hours away, so I asked if she thought that the puppies would still be there in the morning, and she assured me that they would.  I mean, I wouldn't want anyone to pick up all three today, and have me miss my opportunity to adopt a Golden Retriever puppy just because I was too lazy to jump in my van and race down to Marysville.

At the Shelter
But then a little voice inside me said that I should go immediately.  If there's one thing that I have learned in my life, it's that I should listen to that little voice inside my head; so I did.  I borrowed my girlfriend's GPS, jumped in my van, and raced towards Marysville.  I didn't even stop home because I didn't think that I would have time to make it there before they closed if I had.  The conditions were not the best--it was pouring rain and the roads were yucky, and I despised the way the GPS worked.  I really missed Joy's GPS--that sweet voice that constantly updated me on my progress and told  me where I was.  Ahhh...This Garmin GPS honked a loud horn whenever I went over the speed limit (quite often, I may add), and the voice was not as friendly. It also kept me totally in the dark as to my progress and such. I may work in Geography and Planning, but geography is SO not my forte.  Anyway, I made it to the shelter in time to adopt Dover. That was the name they had given my puppy.

In the van with my workout towel
Just after I arrived, they informed me that Dover's sister, Fontana, had just been adopted.  Then, a family entered and they wanted a puppy, too.  So, I quickly claimed Dover because he was so very laid back, friendly and light  in coloring.  His brother, Louden, would have been an excellent choice as well.  But Dover it was.  I quickly learned that Dover really was quite a puppy.  Have you ever tried driving a van, in the pouring rain, when you didn't really know where you were going, and having a puppy running around your van?  Geesh!  It was definitely a memorable ride home.  Thank God, I still had my work out bag in my van.  In it, I had my beach towel and swimsuit because I had planned to go swimming after work.  Instead I seemed to be swimming in the rain, and Dover was peeing on my beach towel.  At least it wasn't on the carpet. I'm finding lately that my life is often being reduced to remembering that, 'it's all about perspective.'

Dover seemed to adjust perfectly, from the moment I pulled into the driveway. He bounded into the house and didn't even lift his leg.  I mean, I totally love this dog--and a male at that.  Every male pooch I've ever owned has lifted his leg to mark my house.  Sometimes, even marking my leg or a friends.'  Uggh!

But not this one.  Nope, he was definitely a God send.  After setting our alarms to awake every couple of hours, and cleaning up a few mistakes, we made it through our first night together.  I kept Dover in my room, Jonathan had Oreo (the neighbor's puppy, who by  the way was not housebroken either), and Bethany had Domino (she definitely had the easiest of the three).  We realized immediately that we need to name this little guy but that was proving to be a difficult task.    Everyone seemed to have opinions on his name, but none as strong as Joy, who at the moment was in a hotel in Florida, biding her time until her cruise departs on Monday.  I was keeping her updated and texted her some pictures of Dover. 

Enjoying lunch in Florida (awaiting their Bahamas cruise)
Well, Joy (and her girlfriend, Kelly) texted me a bunch of potential names, none of which really stood out.  Bethany, Jonathan and I made a list of about 20 names that we liked. Then I asked them to pick their top three.  Xander and Drake were on both lists, and Bethany also liked Koda. Joy liked Koda and Louden, while I liked Xander and Dover.  Goodness, let's keep his original name because it was rather cute. Joy was appalled that we were even considering naming him Xander because that is her cousin Autumn's, dog's name.  It didn't matter that Autumn lives in another state and that we see Autumn less than three times annually, and her Zander even less frequently.   Nonetheless, I aim to please. So, I kept thinking and trying out names.

All day, I kept calling him Xander until someone would balk at that.  Then, I'd call him Dover.  Finally, tonight after I got home after midnight, we finally decided on Koda.  It's seems like a good fit.  He seems to be totally oblivious to it, but that's OK, he'll adjust.  Koda.  I like that name.  It's of African origin and it mean's "last born."  I'm not sure if he was actually the last born, but I know that he has last born characteristics.  Laid back and sweet. I'm a last born, too, so I definitely have a preference of the birthing order of my pup.

Now, about this little guy---he is just what we wanted.  Although the shelter told me that he was all Golden Retriever, after I had paid and signed papers, they notified me that his father was Husky. Domino's part husky, so that's fine with us. I think he may also have some Great Pyrenees in him, too. Whatever.  I do believe that Koda was God ordained to be in our family, so his family lineage is fine.

Home at last
I ended up staying home all day today because I knew that someone would need to stay with Koda and reinforce his housebreaking rules by letting him outside every 45 minutes. Whew! That's work.  I mean, it seemed like every 5 minutes I was letting him outside.  It was all good though.  This little guy caught on quickly.  He also came paper trained, so he's doing quite well for his age.  So, it's our second night together, and he is lying next to me while I am typing.  He's sound asleep because it is 1:30 am, and he's exhausted. Ha.  I am going to put him in a cage that I just got in the hopes that he will sleep soundly and we won't have to wake up every hour.  Maybe just every three hours or so.  I'm not sure how he'll like the cage, so I have decided to sleep in the living room on the coach, so that he'll have company.

Last night, Koda immediately followed me to my room and laid on Domino's dog bed and feel right asleep, as if he owned the joint.  Every time I would move, however, he would get up and follow me.  I put some newspaper in my room and barricaded my door with a suitcase so that he couldn't get out.  I wanted to leave my door open but barricaded.  A couple of times, I stepped over the suitcase to go to the restroom or to get a cup of water, and mild mannered, quiet Koda went berserk.  He cried and cried and cried.  I mean I was gone all of 30 seconds max, but he couldn't handle it. Yikes.  I need to figure out this cage thing tonight because I plan on putting him in the cage when I go to work on Monday. At least until he is totally housebroken. Then, he can roam wherever, whenever he wants.

***A quick update.  Koda did remarkably well overnight in the cage.  I led him in with a treat and locked it.  Then I laid down on the couch.  He started to cry, and when I firmly said, "No," he immediately stopped, laid down and went to sleep.  Wow.  That was way too easy.  Bethany and I both took him out during the night, and he always dutifully (and quietly) returned to his cage.

Jonathan showing Koda his cage
I will continue to update you on Koda's progress, as I plan on getting him into dog training classes immediately.  My schedule is rather hectic right now, but I absolutely believe that this is a priority. I may even have Domino return to a few classes, just so he can be reminded of what excellent manners really are. ha.
Thanks, everyone, for praying for Sam and now for Koda.  Be blessed on this gorgeous Sunday afternoon.

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