(Pretty sure this took longer to write than five minutes...but oh well. Also, in case this post makes it sound like I bought my dog for a reproduction machine, I didn't. And if this post makes me sound like I don't love my dog, trust me. Nothing could be further from the truth. With those things in mind, read on.)
It was something I started planning long before I handed over the money. I wanted a dog. But not just any dog. I wanted a female Golden Retriever. And I wanted to breed her. I had a plan. I would get through the first two years until I reached the end goal of breeding her. Then she would have her puppies, and I would make some money off them and have a good time. What I wasn't prepared for was the roller coaster of life that I would be taken on in the next 2 ½ years. And I definitely wasn't prepared for the way that little, fluffy, blond creature would wiggle her way into my heart and just stay there. The first year and a half past according to plan. But then things started to go downhill (according to my time line). Shortly before my self imposed time line stated she should be bred, I spent the money to have her hips x-rayed only to find out that one hip was not as good as the other. Que: stressful time. I remember sitting in the parking lot of the vet's office just staring outside and thinking, “why? Why can't both hips be good? I said I would still praise You no matter what, God...but why?” A few days and a lot of hard thinking later, during a conversation with my parents, we remembered an incident during her puppy hood. She fell off an ATV and was run over, and the only sign of injury was her dragging her hip for a few minutes. Since then she hadn't had any trouble. Crisis = averted. With the stud dog lined up, current on all shots, etc., etc., all that was needed was for her to come into heat. And once again, my carefully planned out time line wasn't going according to plan. Months passed and I became slightly depressed over the fact that she just wouldn't come into heat. But finally, it happened. She was in heat. Phone calls to the vet's office and the stud dog's owner were made and appointments were set up. Once again, things didn't go completely as I had planned, but unlike before, this time I walked away from it all with a bred dog. Now it was out of my hands. Four weeks (and a lot of looking at my bank account and shuddering at the thought of what would happen if she wasn't pregnant) passed and I finally took a picture to compare with the before-breeding picture. The amount of joy I felt as I saw the definite difference was about three times as much as a child on Christmas morning. Since that day, I have had moments of worry. Some days it seems as if she really isn't getting any bigger. Other days I start panicking about the whole process of birthing puppies (I grew up around calves being born, and have helped with my share of births, but dogs are a little bit different). But through it all, I have been reminded that now matter how carefully I plan my life, no matter how perfect I think my time line is, God's plan and time line is SO much better than mine. I thought I knew what I wanted. I wanted a female Golden Retriever who would give me puppies, and ok, sure, we can be friends I guess. But God knew that I needed a dog who would be my best friend. A dog who would challenge me and help me grow in my faith. (Hey. Don't laugh. God can use anything.) It's been a crazy ride, these past 30 months, but I wouldn't trade them for anything.