We did a thing… we got a new family member over here.  Let me introduce you to Leo (the lion the dog). Maybe crazy, but about a week ago (you know shortly after getting back from our eight months away) we decided to make a trip out to the shelter. With no promises to Marlowe, we said we would look and see if anyone of the pups could be a good fit for our family. And well, just after meeting another dog (and deciding against it) and just before heading out of the shelter, the volunteer brought in another dog “we might like.” The volunteer  asked, “is four years old too old?” and I said, “No, I got my dog Jerry when he was seven. Four is fine”.

After Jerry died,  I said over and over that we wouldn’t be bringing another pup into our lives, but here we are anyway. I was very nervous to even step into this. Our heart already broke because of Jerry. The only tears Marlowe has shed in this eight months away have all been related to Jerry– about missing him while traveling or being sad that he died. I dread the day her heart will break again. And not only that, but I was nervous about everything else that comes with a pup– the dog hair, the poop, the pee, the sleeping, the chewing, the *stay-puttedness* that comes with owning an animal– and definitely way more hesitant to move forward after my health issues. My allergies flared like crazy three years ago with our pets. I couldn’t even breathe in my house. But slowly, as my health is getting better, so are my allergies. (Maybe one day I can eat mangoes again too– one can dream.)

And as completely and totally nervous as I was to even consider it… and then later agree to it and do it, it seems to have been a really great decision. He’s not perfect (nothing in the world is), but damn, he’s a good dog and a great match for our family.

The first day at the shelter we met different little pup– and while Marlowe liked him, it felt off. I told her, “I want you to have a dog that is all about you– that loves you and follows you and wants to always be your buddy by your side.” And she asked, “like Jerry was to you?” Exactly. I wanted a Jerry for her. A little buddy to protect her, cuddle her, and follow her around always. We met Leo (then called Ripley) and the shelter said they didn’t have much info on him— that he was four years old, found by animal control, and un-neutered.

Within a few minutes of meeting Leo, he walked up to Marlowe and rolled over next to her. It was hard to say no after that for sure. Out of all the pet owning concerns, my biggest concern with getting a new dog (or pet of any kind) was my allergies. Dogs can be trained and watched while we travel, but my allergies have taken on a life of their own. They really got out of control, especially with pet hair after getting sick. And while I know and we know that a hypoallergenic dog would have been a better and safer route, it was super important for me to adopt a dog, not buy a dog. And with Leo, I’m really okay. His hair is short, and while he does shed, it’s not much. Every day I’ve cuddled with him and I’ve never had more than a minor tickle in my nose. I got lucky. We all got lucky.

And so we said yes. The shelter told us they would keep him longer to neuter him and we would get a call within two weeks or so to pick him up. About five days later, Alex’s first day of work, we got the call. And while we were not ready  to pick him up yet, they said he was ready for our home. It was definitely an interesting and slightly funny way to go into the new-old routine of Marlowe and my normal daily routine or solo girl time.

Marlowe was so excited. And while I was too. I was nervous, really nervous.

But honestly, out of all my concerns, do you guys know what the biggest problem is? Bringing in Leo has only made the feeling losing Jerry harder. I never imagined the emotional reaction I  would have by bringing in another pup. But it’s there for sure. My heart definitely aches for just *a bit more time* with Jerry.

And maybe it’s totally and completely crazy, but I feel like Jerry is in there, in this new addition. Like Jerry sent us this pup. The two are so similar– so crazy similar with their uniqueness that I haven’t seen in too many other dogs. And while I kept thinking that thought and feeling that crazy feeling, I woke up one morning to hear Alex say, “maybe this is crazy, but I think Jerry is in Leo.” I’m not alone in that feeling– as crazy as it is.  And man, I never thought I would hear something like that come from Alex. But he feels it and love him too. Everyday I hear Alex say, “he just fits in so well. It’s like Leo was always here in our home and family” and he’s right.

We brought Jerry’s pillow out of storage (before we even got Leo)– because we always wanted it in our living room. And debated putting it away when we brought Leo in. But it stayed. And Leo, has never once lied on it, he just rests his head on it. I’m not sure why or what that means, but theres something nice about it.

And the magical thing that happened? Unlike Jerry, another shelter dog, Leo came trained. Really. We’re not sure how we got so lucky, but other than his intense barking at strangers (something we need to work on for sure), Leo is house trained. He hasn’t marked his territory on our house– even on our floor plants, haha. He hasn’t chewed anything. He doesn’t beg for food. And once he tried to jump on the bed, I took him down and said, “no” and he hasn’t done it again since then.

I had told Alex, “well, one positive of adopting a dog now is that our couches already look like crap, so this might actually be the best time to get a dog.” I thought for sure that I’d be bringing home an old dog like Jerry– one that needed massive amounts of patient training– but no, he’s already got it down. Again, lucky.

And so we’re here. Really homebound– I have zero travel plans in my future (right now), I’ve got a house to rebuild and take care of (oh man this house is not loving me back at the moment), and a cuddle dog to spend time with. We’re here for sure. All my nervous feelings are gone. He’s Marlowe’s new best friend and our new family companion. We’re really grateful for this new little lover with a loud bark.

And a new buddy to sit with for all her hours of daily reading? Perfect.

So now we’re here. And you’re here too. Welcome home, Leo.

ps. please excuse the grainy iPhone photos and my half put together house, i’m working on it. 


  1. Catherine

    Congrats on adding Leo to your family. I’ve had a dog in my life, well, my entire life. I teared up reading about Jerry; losing a beloved pet is so hard. That last photo of Marlowe and Leo is so wonderful. Looks like he’s hers. 🙂 All the best settling back into life in Florida.

  2. Samantha

    Oh my goodness, he is so sweet (look at those ears)! It is so important for a dog to be the “right fit” and it looks like you’ve definitely found it. Losing a dog is so hard, but sometimes adopting one can fill the void. Congrats on your new family member!!

  3. Welcome to the family, Leo 🙂 Can’t wait to see more of him!

  4. Heather L Sullivan

    Congratulations on your new family member! Leo is gorgeous and there is something magical about a girl and her pet. My little girl has a tortie kitten who simply adores her so I know first hand the magic you have in your household. And as for the feeling of Jerry being in Leo…I know that feeling, too. Our pets never really leave us, after all, but find ways to stay and make sure our hearts and souls are okay when their physical bodies are no longer with us (I’m sure of it). <3