Brenna (2001-2012)

After bringing Riley home, Donna and I alternated taking vacation time to help him acclimate to his new surroundings. But, all too soon, the day arrived where we both had to return to work, leaving that sweet boy all alone for the day. Since we both worked in the technology field, our days were frequently long and unpredictable. We soon concluded that it was improper to leave this intelligent, highly sociable creature alone all day. He needed a companion. Enter Brenna.

Returning to the same breeder from whom we acquired Riley, she matched us with another roly-poly, raven-colored little puppy. After multiple get-to-know-you visits, the day finally arrived when we took Brenna home. The breeder had given her a bath before we arrived, handing over a still-damp, fluffy little fur-ball. My heart skipped a beat as Donna took that precious little girl from the breeder. Time to take her home.

Unlike Riley, Brenna’s first ride home did not go so smoothly. Although Riley was there to comfort her, she continued to whimper much of the ride home. Once home, she seemed aloof, preferring to stay at a distance. When this behavior persisted a further two weeks, I wondered if she wanted to be with us. One night, Brenna and Riley became overly rambunctious while playing. During their tussle, Brenna’s paw momentarily caught beneath a door, causing her to yelp, limping at her first few steps afterward. Donna instantly scooped her up and retreated to a nearby couch, cuddling and reassuring Brenna all the while. Then, the most amazing thing happened: Brenna looked directly into Donna’s eyes and they held each other’s gaze. I think she understood how deeply Donna cared for her. In that instant, I saw and felt their bond take hold. That moment changed everything and our little family was complete.

Of the two dogs, Brenna was definitely more serious and intense. Not that she did not enjoy playing: she did. In fact, she seemed to get the most satisfaction out of inventing games in which to engage us. If we started laughing while playing her new game, her tail wagging became a blur as she snuggled in close, seemingly trying to breathe in our laughter. What a joy it was to play with her like that! One of our favorite “family” games was to hide one of their toys while keeping them in stationary in a room at the far end of the house. They loved the search! Then, when one of them ultimately found the toy, they would both come running—whoever found the toy in front—with their treasure securely in their mouth. I called it “thunder in the hallway.” I love that memory.