Our (Spotted) Baby

[No, no babies yet. Hence the (disclaimer) in the title. Those will come in time, but please do not misunderstand the content of the post. That, my friends, is how rumors get started.]

I know you could never tell on Instagram, or Facebook, or Twitter, but we really do go through seasons with our dog. Just like relationships, sometimes it's just awesome and sometimes it just feels a little... off.

People told us before we got her, when we (Logan) were weighing the options (I was really just weighing the pros and ignoring the cons and begging Logan with cost projections and pictures of the cutest rescue puppies I could find online - even if they were in Arizona), that getting a puppy is a great introduction to parenthood.

I can say with full confidence that this is 100% true. If you are a dog person, in the slightest, I highly recommend getting a puppy (young, so you have to wake up and lose sleep to take it out in the middle of the night and train and discipline it from an early age) to test run your parenting skills with your spouse. Not that we'll be parents any time soon, and not that it's the exact same by any stretch of the imagination, but I am so thankful for the problems and lessons we've worked through that we wouldn't have otherwise before having kids. (Do you go through seasons with kids, too? I wonder...)

But I digress.

Like I said, we go through seasons with Gracie. I think on the part of all three of us - sometimes she's just more loving, sometimes we're just more interested, sometimes we're busy and she's mad at us for it... and any combination thereof. But lately... Lately we are just smitten all over again.

I mean - how could you not absolutely melt over that precious little face? (For the record, the Hartline household does not condone clothing animals but I was playing a joke on Logan and let me tell you... it was worth it.)

When Logan walks in and her first instinct is to crawl up on the couch with him and bury her face in his chest - how can your heart not grow a couple sizes?

It doesn't help that I bathed her last night. So her precious spotted fur is as soft as her puppy fur was, and smells like Johnson's baby shampoo. I contemplated skipping work this morning so I could just curl up on the couch with her and watch TV all day. It's just that great.

I know. People think we're crazy. People think "it's just a dog" and I get that. She is just a dog. She will die some day (Logan reminds me every day so I won't need extensive therapy from the shock - I probably still will), and life will go on. But unless you have felt and known the love and loyalty and affection of a dog, I don't expect you to understand. I'm sure once we do have kids our love for Gracie will pale in comparison to the love of a child, but for now, she is our baby. And we love her. And we spoil her and we plan our schedule around her, and she is our family.

And I wouldn't have it any other way. She was one of the best decisions of our marriage.