Saturday, May 24, 2008

Happy Birthday Theo!

Growing up, I always wanted a dog. My parents always said no. My mom would say "When you are older and you have a house of your own, you can get a dog."

When I got married, we lived in a co-op apartment, with strict rules of "no pets that make noise." We tried to get a cat, but that was a disaster. When we lived in our apartment, we would often talk about what kind of dog we wanted. We knew that we wanted a dog that would be good with kids and gentle. We did some research and found out about Labradoodles. Funny, right? They are a combination of Labrador Retriever and a poodle. Digging more, we found out about Goldendoodles (combo Golden Retreiver and a poodle). Bingo, we hit the jackpot!

A little history on the breed. Someone was researching hybrids and found that if you crossed the poodle with another breed of dog, hypoallergenic traits would come out. Crossing with the golden or the lab to produce a dog that had a great change of being hypoallergenic allowed people with dog allergies to have seeing eye dogs. Extremely popular in Australia, the breeds were slowly making their way into the US. At the time, there were only a few breeders of this kind of dog in the US. People who lived here were having the dogs imported from Australia, paying thousands of dollars to have them sent here.

We found a house in December 2001 and went to contract right away. Once we knew we were moving in in the summer, we started to do some internet research about the breed that we wanted. After alot of research and deliberation (no joke, this was a HUGE project), we put our name on a waiting list with Mueller's Woodville Kennels in Wisconsin, and, after approximately three months, we received a call that our puppy was born on May 23, 2002. Yay for us! Sure. Yay for us that our dog, who was supposed to grow to "60 pounds and medium size" has grown to be 90 pounds and extra large size, often mistaken for a pony. You laugh, but I am so not kidding. We used to take him all over the place and bring him to outside fairs in the summertime. One time, a little boy approached us and asked "Is that a dog or a pony?" His mother heard him and looked over also wanting to know the answer. Yes, our Theo has come a very long way from the 10 pound puppy that we picked up at the airport in July 2002.

Theo turned 6 years old yesterday. He was here before either of our kids, when our house was a disaster. We went through about five different dog trainers and countless numbers of time when we almost rehomed him for various reasons. He's a little hard to manage, still barking at the mailman like he is hungry for his lunch, but he's a good boy, mellowing a little bit in his old age. Our kids love him and love dogs, although our daughter is afraid of cats. Go figure.

Here's Theo yesterday on his 6th birthday with Aaron & Camryn.

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