While Don went to the ATM to get more cash for the second pup, I began to shop for all the puppy paraphernalia we’d need: collars, harnesses, leashes, toys, tags, treats, food, a crate and the list goes on and on! Adopting a dog in the past had meant simply passing along the stuff from the dog before him. But it seemed puppies required a distinct set of equipment, none of which I already had. Thankfully, Petsmart gifted us adoptive parents with a coupon book for some of the essentials but I could still hear the cha-ching of the cash register with each item that I dropped into the basket.

The pups happily bounced around me and each other, even tumbling over the other or squeezing their whole body underneath their sibling to jack up their back legs in a pretty cool paw stand. Inside of a minute, their leashes were hopelessly tangled with each other. Maybe two puppies weren’t such a good idea after all! But then I remembered that I had walked two dogs for eight years, with only a few minor mishaps (ok, that time Alfie got excited by another dog and pulled me squarely down on my hip wasn’t all that minor but it was only once and I lived to tell about it!).

In any event, I convinced myself that I was just out of practice and enlisted the help of some of the MomsVA folks to hold onto the puppies as I continued my shopping. With Christmas only days away, I tried not to go overboard, knowing full well that our families were probably buying puppy toys for them at that very moment (well, at least for Daisy as no one knew that we were bringing home two bundles of joy yet!).

The MomsVA ladies were extremely helpful in fitting the puppies with collars and harnesses as my nervous fingers fumbled with buckles and clasps. They also guided us in picking out a crate, suggesting that we crate them together and recommending one that was expandable so we wouldn’t have to purchase a larger crate as the puppies reached their full size.

That brings us to the big question: How big would they get? At the pet stand, we were told they were 12 pounds (at 4 months) but would grow to about 35 pounds. However, on this day, the story had changed, maybe because they sensed my trepidation. They told us that the puppies’ mom weighed only about 23 pounds, and they expected her pups wouldn’t get much bigger. But then there was the wild card of the baby daddy. If he was a lab, we were in big trouble!

With our shopping done, our tags engraved (we changed the spelling of “Archee” to “Archie”) and the pups and I packed into the back seat of my Kia Soul, Don drove us all home. I snuggled those pups the entire way, and I thought my heart might explode with love for those little fur balls! At that moment, I wasn’t thinking about house training, chewed furniture or vet bills. All I was thinking about was how good it felt to wrap my arms around a dog again and bury my face in their furry neck.

But puppy breath blinds you to reality for only so long. Once home, my unlimited love was counterbalanced by the sheer weight of raising two puppies. For better or worse, our lives would never be the same again! Keep an eye on this page for the next installment of ISO Shaggy Dog.