I’ve always grown up with dogs. Ever since I was a baby, my family had a dog to make our family complete. And my family even bred golden retrievers for a few years growing up, so we spent several summers with lots of puppies! Needless to say, my family had never been complete without a dog.
Ryan, on the other hand, never had a dog. When they moved to Greenville, they inherited a cat from their neighbors, and Gus was the only “pet” Ryan had ever known.
When Ryan and I were dating and then engaged, he spent many evenings with my family, and got to know our golden retriever Duchess, and Bella, our boxer. (I come from a family of all girls – don’t judge!) My family got Bella the summer before Ryan and I got engaged and, immediately, I was hooked. I knew then that I wanted a boxer! They’re built, slightly intimidating, love to run (can you say built-in exercise?), so loving, and complete lap dogs. I remember telling Ryan that some day, I wanted a boxer puppy.
Ryan was not a big fan. He liked Bella but she was just too big for us. She had also accidentally bitten my lip when she was a puppy so that added to Ryan’s apprehension. For someone that never grew up around dogs, 70 pounds of muscle and drool is a little hard to get used to. Ryan just didn’t want a dog that drooled or let hair everywhere. He likes things to be clean (which I am very thankful for!). So after we got married, we started doing some research. Actually, Ryan did, because I already knew what I wanted.
Ryan had been emailing me and texting me photos of dog breeds and one day, he sent me the most adorable photo of a Staffordshire Bull Terrier puppy. My heart melted and I knew that’s exactly what I wanted. Ryan had found the perfect puppy and it was everything I wanted in a dog and the perfect size for Ryan! We got to work seeing where we could find this breed.
November of 2012, we found a breeder in Virginia. We did a phone interview with her and just chatted about Staffys. We had never heard of them before, and wanted to learn all we can! Janet, the breeder, said they had a brand new litter of puppies born two days ago and there was only one that was available (she sent us the first photo you see in the collage below). After we got off the phone, Ryan and I talked about it, and ultimately, I actually decided on my own that it would probably be best if we waited to get a dog. I wanted one so bad, but wasn’t sure if the timing or price, was right for us. Purebred puppies aren’t cheap! So I left that conversation thinking we had found the perfect dog for us, and maybe someday we’d add her to our family. (Side note – it was always going to be a girl dog. Always.)
Behind the scenes, the wheels in Ryan’s brain were turning. He knew how much I wanted a dog, and we seemed to really click with the breeder we chatted with on the phone. He called Janet a few days later, right before Thanksgiving and asked if the puppy she had mentioned was still available. She told him she still had the one black female available!. She was the only one not spoken for. Ryan didn’t even think twice and told the breeder he wanted to get me that puppy for Christmas. She wouldn’t be ready quite yet, but Ryan made her ours.
Christmas, 2012. Ryan will tell you that the month between purchasing our puppy and Christmas was the longest month ever trying to keep it a secret from me! Our first Christmas was going to be magical together, I was so sure of it. We had our little family Christmas that morning, and Ryan had one little tiny present left under the tree for me. “To: My wife, From: The guy who keeps making your dreams come true.” I opened it up, and read the following words: The best things in life take a little bit of work. Have fun and follow the clues to get the gift!
A scavenger hunt! Seemed a little silly, but incredibly romantic, and my mind was spinning. I was sent throughout the house looking for the next clue, and my final clue read: Go find your husband. He’s by the TV. Check under there. Your present you’ll see! I love you!!!
I rushed over and look in the media cabinet. I open the drawers, and there was the long sought-after present. I eagerly opened it up, and discovered a little blue leash. I looked up at Ryan and as it slowly hit me what it meant, I said, “Did you get me a puppy?!” I broke down in tears as he confirmed what I never thought was possible. We were getting a puppy!
We went to pick up Mia in January, just a few weeks later. She shook the whole ride home and was such a scared tiny little thing! That first night, she cried as she was in her brand new box. I knew we needed to let her cry it out, but Ryan felt so bad for her (and her cries kept him from sleeping!) that he spent that first night sleeping with her on the couch. And from that moment, dear readers, Ryan fell in love with her. They play tug together, go on trips to Spinx for Mountain Dew, aggressively play fight upstairs, and cuddle on the couch every night. Mia made Ryan a dog person for life!
Our life would seriously not be complete without our Mia. She helps keep us active, keeps us entertained, and she’s there to give hugs or cuddle when we need it. Mia curls up by my feet every morning while I’m getting ready and follows us around the kitchen every meal. She knows so many words, and we think she knows how to spell, too! She brings so much joy into our lives and we can’t imagine life without our little Mia!