a happy birthday indeed

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Right around my sixteenth birthday, my family got our first dog. Her name is Mackenzie and she is a wonderful furry family member.

When we got her, I remember wishing from that day forward to get a Westie puppy of my own. Fast forward twelve years and my wish has now come true.

On the way home from Ann Arbor this weekend Mr. Lively and I made one important stop along the way. We needed to meet and pick our puppy-to-be. My parents generously offered to gift us our first family dog as our wedding gift. A very sentimental gift considering my love affair with Westies began when we got Mackenzie oh-so-many years ago.

Yesterday at brunch before Mr. Lively and I selected our pup, we did a bit of cramming via a Puppies for Dummies book we borrowed from a friend (it’s really well done by the way, I definitely recommend it).

From the temperament chapter, we figured that we’d want one of the more active and energetic male pups. Though my personal dream of getting this little Westie was always to get a female puppy (named Elsie), Mr. Lively has now entered the picture. He did some heavy lobbying for a male dog. And given the glowing reports we have heard about the boy Westies, we decided to go with a guy.

Getting to play with four six-week-old Westie puppies was amazing. And also a bit overwhelming. At such a young age they largely look alike and the task of selecting just one to take home seemed daunting at first.

But within the first few minutes of sitting with them while they circled us and tugged at Mr. Lively’s shirt, one little guy promptly sat in my lap and started giving me kisses on the hand. As he sat there his tail began to wag furiously and I was in love.

I promptly passed him over to Mr. Lively who also received kisses and cuddles.

After observing them a bit more together and on his own, we realized that the little guy who loved being held was not the rebel rouser we thought we’d select. He was a bit quieter and not quite as attached to his litter mates. But his confidence and sweetness stole our hearts.

In a way, he picked us.

We cannot wait to take him home with us in November. For the next three weeks I’ll be staring at photos of him on my phone and computer, trying to stay calm.

A happy birthday indeed. It’s going to be a great year.


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  1. Anni

    Aw, what a cutie! I love his adorable eyes and that cute tongue poking out. Happy birthday!

  2. Jacki

    What a precious boy! Congratulations! 🙂

    I remember getting those wonderful updates when my pup was waiting to come home. His breeder sent me photos the day he was born through the day he was ready to join me. He had to fly to come home and I will never forget the first time I actually met him. Absolutely heart-melting.

  3. Happy Birthday and congrats on the boy Westie. We have a male Westie in our family as well and my parents trusted me with picking him out. I went with the guy who was full of energy who kept crawling all over me and giving me kisses.

  4. Guenevera

    I’ve always told people I was a cat person, but stories like this make me want a puppy so badly!

  5. Jenny

    Awww, what a cutie! We had a Scottish Terrier, I’m not a dog person, but terriers are so wonderful!

  6. Mr. Lively

    What was left out of this post was the fact that we both left with puppy poop on our clothes. I’ve never been so okay with dog poop in my life.

  7. Ariel

    SO CUTE! I’m so happy for you! I love my doggy (chihuahua named Billy) just about as much as my kids. 🙂 Happy Birthday! He is SO adorable!

  8. Kristen

    Congratulations and Happy Birthday! Getting a puppy was the best decision my husband and I have made! Being a puppy parent is definitely challenging sometimes but SO worth it! Your little guys is beyond adorable!! November can’t come soon enough!

  9. The same thing happened when we got out first Pomeranian! Hubby was really pushing for a boy. I was interested in getting a girl. The whole litter was adorable, but one sweet little dog sat in my lap and cuddled with me the whole time. He was the one we ended up leaving with and we couldn’t have made a better choice. Congrats!! I’m so excited for y’all.

  10. JCHokie

    Can’t take the cuteness! He’s beyond adorable. Can’t wait for him to come home to you guys! Very happy bday.

  11. Trang

    It always happens like that, the dog picks you! 🙂

  12. Cara

    Congratulations Jess! This brings back memories of choosing our puppy, almost 2 years ago. It definitely is true that they have a way of choosing you ~ what a cute story and fun times ahead! 😀

  13. Leigh

    He is adorable. The pups definitely choose you for sure. When I when to chose my long haired mini-dachshund I thought I wanted a quiet black and tan but in the end it was an energetic little silver dapple that stole my heart! He is now two years old and we are the best of friends.

  14. Helena

    Happy Birthday! I’m a total pet person and love that feeling when you pick out a new family member!

  15. Valerie

    Aw, he’s adorable! Congrats. Funny how pets seem to choose us instead of the other way around.

  16. Congrats! Adding a puppy to your new family is an amazing experience. Shortly after my husband and I tied the knot, we adopted a dog. There’s something so wonderful about owning a pet together. My family dog is a Westie, and they’re just the sweetest. I can’t wait to hear the name you pick out and see more pictures!!!

  17. Kiki

    I truly believe that dogs pick their owner! My Godmother is in a wheel chair and when they went to pick a beagle puppy, one little guy kept sniffing her feet and eventually curled up under the wheel chair and went to sleep. They knew he was meant to be with their family as he had picked them to go home with.

    Our dog also picked us. We spent an entire weekend going from store to store to see all of the rescue dogs and there just weren’t any that fit our needs/wants. The last place we went, I saw a little guy who looked like he was already spoken for eying us as we walked back to the car. He had fluffy black fur, which I was avoiding because I didn’t want to deal with it all over the apartment. His puppy eyes were enough to pull me back to pet him, and when the volunteer handed us the leash to visit with him the first thing he did was give me his paw (unprompted) to introduce himself. Nearly 8 years later we are still vacuuming almost daily and I feel so blessed that he talked us into taking him home that day!

  18. Gaia

    Oh my gosh, congratulations on your new furry family member! Wow what a charmer…! Happy Birthday indeed.

  19. jessica

    Awww, he’s so adorable! I can’t wait to see more pictures when you bring him home. Congratulations and happy birthday!

  20. CB

    Aww, soo cute!!! Happy birthday, dear friend!!

  21. Adorable Jess. I have to say, you’re amazing for putting so much research into choosing a dog. It really shows responsibility and devotion to this little guy. You have a lot of happy years ahead of you! xx

  22. Jess

    Thank you all so much for the birthday wishes and puppy congratulations! : )

  23. Jen

    Hey Jess!

    Congrats on the new puppy! He is adorable and there is nothing quite like having a puppy. They are so fun and rewarding. They really are the best. I can’t wait to hear what you guys name him!

    I always recommend The Power of Positive Dog Training by Pat Miller whenever I hear someone is getting a dog. It has served me so well and really helped me (someone who’d never had a dog before) successfully train two puppies into the best friends ever. I still reference it as a resource 3.5 years later!

  24. Juju

    OMG – my puppies looked the same when i go them!!! love love westies!!! and your pup sounds my younger one, Speedz, who’s sweet as he can be w/ all the kisses and cuddles!! Happy Birthday and have fun w/ your puppy!

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