Friday, September 6, 2013

little miss sophie {the story of our french bulldog}

Meet Sophie. Newest love of my life. 

Back in October or November of last year, Jacob and I started talking about wanting a dog. In our current apartment we couldn't have one, but we knew we probably would try to move when our lease was up. We began looking at breeds and eventually stumbled upon the French Bulldog. We did a lot of research -- we wanted to be as educated as possible. The breed seemed perfect for our home, our lifestyle, and city living. The obsession with Frenchies began.

Little miss Sophie (1 week old) is the all-white girl just hanging out.

Settling on the idea of a Frenchie was easy. Seeking out the best place to get one took more work. I planned and researched like it was my job. (It should probably in fact be my job -- I love it and am quite good.) We went the breeder route and I evaluated and judged a lot of people, their websites, and their dogs. I googled many nights on the couch -- French Bulldogs, French Bulldog breeders, French Bulldogs Chicago, etc. I eventually found a great breeder in Minnesota who had excellent reviews, gave great advice, and showed lots of photos that only elevated the feeling of being excited. We reached out to her and initiated contact. Jacob and I talked. A lot. We felt like the breeder, the situation, and the decision was the right one. We put a deposit down on an upcoming litter.

Sophie at 1 month old.

The litter of puppies we put a deposit down on didn't ever come. The mom didn't carry them through. This was in May. Another litter was to be born towards the end of June, so we decided to carry our deposit over to that litter. I figured that if something didn't go well with that litter, it was a sign that we weren't meant to get a Frenchie just yet. The breeder was great and kept in contact with us well, which was nice as a worrying and hopeful "mom-to-be."

A litter of 6 were born June 30. Four girls and two boys. We were ecstatic. We were number 3 on the list in terms of putting down deposits, which means we would have the third pick.

After receiving a picture of the baby puppies at a week old, we were excited to try to see their colorations and started dreaming which one would be ours. At around a month old, we received three pictures of every puppy. The breeder asked everyone to put in their requests and she would go in the order of those who put down deposits. Jacob and I studied the photos of the puppies for much longer than I'd like to admit. They were all so precious! We picked our top three and emailed them to the breeder. We at least knew one of the three we picked would be ours. The next day we found out our number 1 pick, Sophie, was definitely ours.

Knowing which dog was ours made everything real. She was ours. I started making a list of what we needed to buy. We slowly bought training pads, beds, and toys. I researched good and poor ingredients in dog food and picked what I thought would be "best" for her. We set up her crate a month early. We couldn't help it -- we were going to be in charge and responsible of another little creature.

About two weeks before Sophie's arrival, we picked her name. We had an ongoing list of names since we wanted a dog and finally picked what we thought was appropriate. She definitely ended up being a Sophie!

About a week before Sophie's arrival, Jacob worked on coordinating with the breeder on how we would get Sophie. The breeder was about 10 hours from Chicago. We could choose to pay a fee (seems expensive but worth it) to have her flown to Chicago O'Hare or we could rent a car ourselves and drive to meet the breeders/dogs at the Minneapolis airport. After evaluating the cost versus how the day would play out, I pushed us to have her flown. This was a brilliant decision. We were allowed to have the day to prepare and be excited instead of stressed about driving with a new puppy.

On August 30 in the afternoon our dearest friend Chelsea drove us to Chicago O'Hare. We looked up where to pick up animals and we headed to United's Air Cargo Facility. We arrived around the time she landed but had to wait for her arrival, which was about 25 minutes. 

When they pushed her crate over, Jacob and I walked over to greet our newest little one. I peeked down at her level and although she went through a lot to get there, she looks so happy and cute. The ride was fairly good, although she was uncertain about a lot!

Sophie arrived home and we began introducing her to small areas at a time. She learned (and is still learning) about collars, leashes, and crates. 

She is already prepared for the great number of photos she will be having taken in her lifetime.

First family photo, although Sophie was a little excited about laptime on the couch.

We have surpassed the one week mark of her arrival. What have I discovered about this little girl? Puppies sleep far more than you expect they will. They also have to go to the bathroom far more than you expect they will. She is happy. She learns quickly. (When we are outside our apartment and she is done going outside, we tell her to "go home" and she runs to the door ledge and sits to wait to be let in.) She sleeps and plays in the oddest of ways. She loves when it is mealtime. She is investigative and curious about everything and everyone. 

What have I learned about me? I am adapting to being "messy"--aka toys everywhere. I don't mind waking up in the middle of the night to let her out. My routine and daily life have been shifted. I love her and feel such strong emotion knowing that I am helping create her entertaining, comfortable, and safe little life.

I cannot wait to watch her grow and to experience the city streets together. She doesn't quite know how to walk with a leash yet, but I'm sure she will soon. Until then, she will just sit next to the sidewalk watching all those who pass by. They usually can't resist her charm. (Neither can I!) She has her photo taken nearly every day and constant verbal and physical love from people on the street. 

This little snapshot was taken by someone on the street and texted to me.  

Little Miss Sophie - thank you for being the one to enter our lives and joining our family. It could've been someone else but I am so very thankful it is not. We are certainly blessed to have you and cannot wait to watch your antics and feel your doggy love. 

*This is the first thing to cross off my 25 Things to Do While I'm 25 list and I am so glad it is! What a way to kick off my year.