14 years ago, we fell in love with this energetic puppy in the aisle of the local Petsmart on an adoption day. We had told ourselves that we weren’t going to get a dog yet, but we fell in love with those big brown eyes and sloppy kisses. Unfortunately today, we had to say goodbye to our first furry baby and it was so much harder than I thought it would be. Thankfully Matt happened to be home taking care of the other Natalie today, so she wasn’t alone and I had loved on her before heading out the door this morning.
This dog knew she was loved, but I doubt she knows how much she will be missed. I don’t want to dwell too much on losing her, because I’m crying as I type this already, but I do want to post some older photos of her and talk about this crazy dog and her impact on our life.
Who is this tiny little puppy??? This was from her first few days with us - she was a little tentative at first and once she realized she was staying she celebrated by running around the house like a possessed dog. Matt woke me up to tell me “I think there is something wrong with the dog!” Nope, she’s just excited!
This baby girl went everywhere with us! She used to be tiny enough to fit between us in the S-10, which seemed impossible within a year.
Graduation day from obedience school! I don’t know who those young people with her are, but they sure seem happy about her passing. It was in doubt - she loved jumping up at that age and she may have accidentally done it to the instructor and scratched her nose. Whoops!
Of course, we put her jumping talents to good use once we realized how much she loved to jump. As a side note, that blue collar drove me crazy. People always assumed she was a boy dog even when she was wearing pink, so that clearly made matters worse…
Natalie would actually stay outside (in our fenced backyard) most of the day while we were at work and she was always so excited when I came home! I would be greeted by this adorable face straining to peer under the gate! :)
Of course, we didn’t have Natalie terribly long when we realized she might want a sibling. The neighbor’s had a visiting dog in their yard for a few days and Natalie was so excited that she was shoving all of her toys under the fence for playtime.
And our family of three became a family of four! Doesn’t Natalie look so excited to have a sister??
The two of them used to love riding around in the car with their heads out in the breeze! I was a very nervous dog mom and was convinced Natalie was going to have something fly into her eye. We had an unspoken deal that she could hold her head out as long as she kept her protective doggles on. She would leave them on just until the car stopped and off they would go!
But Natalie’s favorite activity was always swimming! We introduced her to it at a pretty young age and it was always her favorite thing to do. Our only criteria for her sibling when we were looking was a dog that liked to swim. And that scruffy little goober we found did indeed like to swim. Unfortunately for Eliza, Natalie was definitely a better swimmer and always got the stick first!
And she was not great at sharing…
But otherwise they were pretty good buds and loved going to the beach to run around like wild animals.
Natalie pretty much didn’t care what kind of water body was around, as long as she could swim in it. The dog park is where she really excelled at leaping into the water! And Eliza learned pretty quickly not to get between her big sister and the water… ;)
After we went on our first backpacking trip to Alaska, we thought we would start doing more backpacking closer to home. We bought the girls their own packs to carry their food and they loved the freedom of being out in the woods and ran double the distance we hiked by getting ahead and doubling back.
We didn’t need to wait for human kids to take family photos for Christmas cards!
(As a side note - all four of us look ridiculously young in this photo…)
But we didn’t just celebrate Christmas! Natalie didn’t care what holiday it was and she didn’t care if her mom wanted her to be a pumpkin as long as she got that treat her mother was dangling above the camera! Tell me she’s not an adorable pumpkin!!
Baby girl started to show some gray when we moved into the garage apartment, so she can’t blame it on having babies running around like I can. Old girl loved to lay around and get some napping in. I never knew how much napping she did during the day until I was home with her and Thomas on maternity leave. I’m not sure who slept more! (It wasn’t me…)
And her last big move and adventure up to Alaska with us! She didn’t seem to mind the snow and cold at all, though she was not too sure about the giant moose that liked to wander through the yard!
I honestly could keep posting photos of her and remembering this very special puppy of ours, but I have to keep taking breaks since the screen keeps getting blurry...
We are going to miss her so much and I hope our daughter appreciates that she’s named after such an amazing part of our life. We’ll miss you so much furry Natalie.
I sure hope all dogs go to heaven and we get to hang out with you again.