We drove the SUV in the morning, since we were getting a large pet carrier and we would need the extra room. When I got to the office, I told my nurse that we were willing to take two pups for the boys, and then I showed her the photos of the two we wanted. I also told her that we’d like to pick them up after work on Saturday.
“I wondered if you might be interested in taking one of them, but I never guessed you’d want two,” she responded. “I’ll call my friend on my lunch hour and make sure it’s all right with her about picking them up on Saturday and that you want two puppies. I’m sure it will be ok on both, unless she has other plans for that time.”
“Just let her know it won’t be immediately after we get out of work, because we have to stop and pick up a few items that we’ll need for them first. We just don’t want to do it while Noah and Holly are with us, because we want this to be a surprise.”
“Oh, that’s precious, and I’ll let her know.”
“Thank you, but I forgot to ask how much your friend is charging for the puppies.”
“They aren’t. They just want to find good homes for them, and this will solve a third of their problem.”
“Then I guess we all win.”
After I’d returned from eating lunch with Brandon, Holly, and Noah; my nurse came up to speak with me again. “I called my friend and she agreed that you could pick up the puppies on Saturday. She is going to make sure her husband and son know which two you want so they won’t give them to someone else by accident.”
“That’s great, and thank you for doing this for us.”
“It’s my pleasure. Oh, and by the way, she says anytime before 4:00 on Saturday will be fine.”
I was happy this was working out so well and I would make sure to tell the others about it later tonight. In the meantime, I went back to doing my job and taking care of my patients.
I didn’t say anything to Brandon about it when we met up to go home because Noah and Holly were with us. However, after we got to the house and had said hello to Dad and the other boys, I mentioned it to him when we got to our bedroom to change.
“Everything’s all set for Saturday. We can run to the pet store first and purchase the supplies, and then we can pick up the puppies. My nurse gave me directions on how to get to her friend’s farm.”
“That’s great and I can’t wait to see the kids’ reactions when we carry the puppies into the house.”
“Maybe I should tell Dad to have his phone handy so he can film it.”
When we went downstairs again, I asked Dad to let the others know that I’d like to speak with them again after the kids were in bed. He agreed to tell them, so I wouldn’t have to do it. I thanked him, and then I went to talk to Ryan.
“Did you want me to purchase your bus ticket for you? I can also get the bus schedule so you’ll know what time the bus leaves and I’ll know when you’ll arrive here on the trip back.”
“I’ve already checked it out online and I can give you that information. And Noah said he’d drive me to the bus station on Saturday so I can pick up my ticket, because that way I’ll be sure that the bus won’t get filled up without me.”
“Then it sounds as if you have everything worked out without us.”
“Yeah, I told you I was old enough to take care of myself, but thanks for offering to do that for me.”
I was beginning to get used to the older boys not needing us like they did when they were younger, since we’d gone through this to some extent with Elliot and Noah too. We must be doing something right, seeing our boys are rapidly growing into independent young men.
Brandon and I spent some time with Holly and the boys after dinner, and then we went to say goodnight to each of them before we got ready for our meeting. There was nothing unusual about our nightly rounds, so we went to the dining room to chat with the others.
“Is something wrong?” Pop asked as we were approaching the table.
“No, I just wanted to fill you in on what will be happening on Saturday. My nurse called her friend and she agreed that we could pick up the puppies on Saturday after work. We’ll drive over to the pet store to pick up the other items first, and then we’ll get the puppies. We’ll leave everything else in the car when we arrive home and just carry the puppies inside, but I thought you guys might want to know this in advance so you could have your phones ready to record the boys’ reactions.”
“That’s a great idea,” Dion agreed.
“Yes, I can’t wait to see how they react when they see the two puppies,” Trey agreed.
“In that case, I’ll call you when we’re nearly here so you’ll have time to get ready before we pull into the driveway,” I said.
“And I’ll definitely record it so I can give you a copy,” Dad added.
“Thank you and I thought you’d all appreciate the heads up.”
Now that this had been taken care of, Brandon and I went upstairs to turn in as well. However, I didn’t fall asleep right away, because my mind was busy going over the various scenarios of what might transpire when we arrived home on Saturday. However, I eventually drifted off and slept soundly until the alarm went off in the morning.
The rest of the week was fairly uneventful, but I was as excited as if I were a young boy again and the puppies were for me, but in reality I was excited to see the boys’ faces when they saw the puppies. This could prove to be a very important day in their lives and leave an indelible impression on their young psyches.
Revin was still at the house when we got home on Friday, because it was his turn to spend the weekend with us. The boys seemed to be in an upbeat mood and were looking forward to using the pool the following day, so I wondered if they’d even be in the house when we arrived with the puppies. Other than that, it was just another normal night and Brandon and I spent time with Holly and the boys until it was time for the younger group to head upstairs and get ready for bed.
We tucked them in first, and then we made our rounds to say goodnight to the older ones too. We started on the third floor and said goodnight to Ryan, Noah, and Elliot, and then we headed back downstairs and knocked on Holly’s door next. We heard her say, “Come in,” in her sweet soprano voice and entered the room.
“I want to show you some of the things I’ve made for work,” she greeted us. She had made a series of cards with words such as cat, dog, hat, and ball written on them, and next to each word was a picture of the item that she’d cut out of a magazine.
“Those are very nicely done and I’m sure at least some of the kids will be able to read the words even without the pictures after a while,” Brandon said to encourage her.
“Yes, because I’ve already worked with them on recognizing the letters of the alphabet and the numbers from one to ten and they’re doing very well with those.”
“I’ve heard comments from some of the parents of those children and they’re very impressed with what you’ve been doing,” I informed her. “They say their children have recognized different letters and numbers they see on TV, the books their parents are reading to them, and even on their parents’ phones.”
“I’m so happy to hear this and I’m having a great time working with the three and four-year-olds.”
She was in a totally upbeat mood as we said goodnight and left her bedroom, and then we went out to sit and chat with Dad, Pop, Dion, and Trey.
“I think we’re all set for tomorrow,” Dad said as we joined him. “We’ll try to keep the boys inside after lunch, so they’ll be available when you return home. Do you have any idea about what time that might be?”
“I think sometime between 1:30 and 2:00. That should give us enough time to do our shopping, drive to the farm to pick up the pups, and then drive home.”
“Where are you going to put the carrier they sleep in at night?” Trey followed.
“Brandon and I have talked about that and we have a feeling the puppies may whine for the first few nights, so we don’t want to put it someplace where the noise might interrupt someone’s sleep. At first we were going to put it in the rec room, but that might disturb Holly, Dad, and Pop, so the only place we could think of that would work is in the family room. That’s far enough away from all of the bedrooms that it shouldn’t bother anyone, especially if we close the door to the family room as well.”
“Ok, that should work,” Trey agreed.
“Aren’t you afraid the boys will want you to put the carrier in one of their rooms?” Pop followed.
“We’ll just have to explain to them that we might be able to do it once the puppies have adjusted to being here and are used to sleeping in the carrier.”
“I hope they agree with your logic,” Dad added, looking doubtful. “Where are you going to keep the bowls with their food and water?”
“We were thinking that we’ll put those in the rec room,” Brandon answered. “That way the bowls will be out of the way and the puppies will be close enough to the back door if they need to go outside afterward.”
“Ok, that should work. Will they each have their own bowls or are you going to have them share?”
“We thought it would be best if they each had their own bowls in order to prevent fights over what’s in them, because it would probably result in them making a mess.”
“That’s probably a good idea too,” Dion concurred.
Now that all of these issues had been covered, Brandon and I said goodnight to the others and headed up to bed. We were excited about bringing the puppies home the next day, but we still had to work until noon first and needed our rest.
When I got to the office the next morning, my nurse smiled at me before she spoke. “Are you ready to adopt two more?” she teased.
“Absolutely, and I hope the puppies and the boys are as excited about it as we are.”
“I’m not sure about the puppies or your sons, but the puppies’ owners are,” she replied and then she giggled.
Shortly after that exchange, I saw my first patient, and that continued throughout the morning. As soon as I finished with my final patient of the day, my staff and I grabbed our belongings and headed out the door, and then I locked up the office behind me. I then met up with Brandon in the lobby, and after we were sure everyone was gone, we locked up the health center and headed out to the SUV.
We drove over to the pet store, and as we were filling our cart I grabbed one of the employees to ask him a question. “Are you familiar with the items in this department?”
“Yes, I’m very familiar with them.”
“Great, then which can puppy food would you suggest is the best?”
“I used the Blue Wilderness with my dogs when they were puppies and I feel that would be your best choice.”
“And how about some natural soft treats to use when training them?” He pointed those out to us next.
“Fantastic, and which collars would be best? We want something that won’t harm their necks or irritate the skin?”
After asking us what breed of dog we were talking about, he pointed out a nylon collar to us. “This is more than sturdy enough for your puppy, yet it’s soft enough that it won’t damage his neck.”
We then had him point out appropriate leashes to go with the collars and we also had him help us pick out a large carrier that would be comfortable enough for them to sleep in overnight. We also asked him to show us where the pads were that we could use to line it, and then we went to pick out four dog bowls. Once we had all of the items we needed, we headed to checkout and paid for everything. I stored the other items inside the carrier, took it out to the SUV, and placed it in the back. Now, we were ready to go get the puppies.
When we got to the farm, the lady of the house answered the door and greeted us. “You must be the doctor my friend works for.”
“Guilty as charged.”
“And you’re here to pick up a couple of puppies, a male and a female.”
“Yes, we are,” Brandon confirmed.
“I’m told you have several youngsters, so they should be very happy and the puppies should be very good with them,” she added before leading us out to the barn where the puppies were. “Here they are – the two you requested,” she said as she handed the male to me and her teenage son handed the female to Brandon.
“They are adorable and I’m sure the kids will love them,” I said as I held the puppy and it licked my hand. Then it squirmed around in my arm and tried to reach up so it could lick my face. The female was doing the same thing with Brandon, which prompted a comment from her son.
“The puppies seem to like you, so this should work out fine,” he said as he observed us with the playful pair. There was a larger dog standing beside him and watching us closely.
“I take it that must be their mother?”
“Yes, and I’ll hold her back so she doesn’t follow you as you go to your vehicle. These are the first of her litter to leave.”
“I’m sure this won’t be easy for her then,” Brandon responded.
After thanking both of them and promising to take good care of the puppies, we said goodbye and headed out to the SUV. Brandon held both puppies, one in each arm, as I drove home. Brandon had his hands full as he attempted to control the two excited pups, but before we reached the house they’d settled down and were lying quietly across his lap. I gave Dad a call to warn him that we were close, so they should get ready.
When I pulled into the driveway and turned off the ignition, I took one of the puppies from him and we got out of the car. After walking into the house, we saw the younger boys in the kitchen helping Dad make a batch of cookies. They looked in our direction when they heard us enter, and as soon as they saw the puppies their mouths dropped open and they stopped what they were doing.
“Are they for us?” Tristan squealed as he raced in our direction with the others on his heels.
“Yes, we just picked them up.”
I handed the puppy I’d been carrying to Tristan and Brandon handed the other one to Hunter. Revin was soon with Tristan and petting that puppy, while Hayden and Wyatt were doing the same to the puppy that Hunter was holding. The boys were all talking excitedly and the puppies were busy licking them, and occasionally letting out a little bark.
As I looked around, Dad was filming everything from the kitchen and Dion was standing in the living room and recording it all from another angle. That’s when I discovered that Trey had come out of the family room and was behind us getting another perspective on what was happening.
“Do they have names?” Tristan wanted to know.
“Not yet, and you’ve got the boy puppy and Hunter has the girl.”
“I want to call him Dobby then.”
“You mean after the house elf in the Harry Potter books and films?”
“Yeah, I really like Dobby in the Harry Potter films and think he’s funny, and I think it will be a great name for this puppy.”
“I don’t have a problem with that, if no one else does.”
The twins were busy talking between themselves and I thought they might object to the name Tristan had chosen, but that obviously wasn’t what they’d been discussing. “Can we call this one Flash?” Hayden asked next. “It’s the name of the dog in the story our mom used to read to us.”
“And what book was that?” Brandon followed.
“Bad Dog Flash,” Hunter replied.
“Of course, that makes sense, but I hope she isn’t a bad dog,” he joked. “I don’t have a problem with that, but how about you, Wyatt? Are you ok with those names?”
“Yeah, they’re ok with me too.”
I was just about to say something else when Benny and Joshie came bounding down the stairs. “What’s all the noise down here?” Benny asked when he reached the foyer.
“They brought puppies home with them,” Tristan responded.
“To keep?” Benny followed, and from the way he and Joshie looked I suspected they’d been up in their room helping each other get off.
“Yes, we thought it was about time you boys had a pet.”
“They’re so cute,” Joshie said as he was checking them out.
“We’ve named this one Dobby,” Tristan told him.
“You named it after Dobby the house elf?” Joshie followed.
“Yeah, cuz I like Dobby and I like how his name sounds.”
“And this one is Flash,” Hunter added.
“After the comic book hero?” Benny asked.
“No, it’s the name of the dog in a book we like,” Hayden explained.
“And the puppies are for all of you to share,” I added, hoping to clarify the situation.
“Can Dobby sleep with me tonight?” Tristan wanted to know.
“No, they’ll sleep down here in a carrier.” I saw Benny flinch when I said that.
“How come?” Tristan persisted.
“Because they’re not potty trained yet and they’re not old enough to hold it in all night, so if they sleep with you then they’ll probably either pee or poop on you or in your bed.”
“Ewww,” I heard several of them mutter.
“And I don’t want you rolling over on them either, because they’re small enough that you could hurt them badly.”
“Oh, ok,” Tristan relented.
“I’m going out to the SUV to get the other items we purchased for them, and then we’ll teach you how to feed and water them.”
“K,” they agreed in unison, so I went to grab the carrier out of the SUV. After I brought it inside, I set it down in the foyer, and began pulling the various items out of it. The first thing I did was to put a collar on each of the puppies and then I connected a leash to it before asking the boys to take them outside for a walk in the grass so they could pee.
While they were doing that, I put the dog bowls in the rec room and opened a can of puppy food. I also dug out a plastic pitcher and filled it with water. When the boys came inside a few minutes later, I told them to follow me back to the rec room so we could feed them. Holly saw us enter the area and came out of her room to see what was going on. That’s when she spotted the puppies.
“Oh, they’re adorable,” she said as walked over to pet them.
“They’re ours now,” Hayden informed her. “That one’s Dobby and this one is Flash.”
“What Hayden means is that the puppies belong to all of you,” Brandon clarified, and then we began explaining a few more things to them.
“Each puppy will have its own food and water bowl, and this is how much you should put in each one.” I then added the food and water and then the boys undid the leashes so the puppies could eat. “They’re eight weeks old now, and for the next four weeks they’ll need to be fed four times a day. The first meal should be around 7:30, or when you get up, and the next at 11:30, or just before lunch. They’ll need to eat again at 3:00 and once more at 6:00, or just before we eat.”
“How come so often?” Joshie asked.
“Because they’re growing and have small stomachs, so they can’t eat very much at one time. Just make sure they always have water in their bowls so they can have a drink whenever they want.”
“If we only do this for the next four weeks, what do we do after that?” Benny followed.
“At that time they’ll be bigger so we’ll start feeding them more each time, but we’ll only feed them three times each day, at 7:30, noon, and 6:00. Eventually we’ll only feed them twice a day, once in the morning and again at night.”
“How come you aren’t giving them bag dog food?”
“Because puppies can’t chew the hard nuggets yet, so we’ll give them can food until we cut them back to three meals a day. At that time we’ll give them can food in the morning and dry food the other two times, because the dry food also helps to clean their teeth. When they only have two meals a day, it will be all dry food then.”
“Oh, ok. I see now,” he agreed.
“And about a half hour after they eat you should take them out for a walk so they can poop. Take a paper towel and plastic bag with you so you can clean up after them, unless you don’t mind stepping or falling in it when you’re playing outside.”
“Dang, I didn’t know we’d have to do that too,” Tristan whined.
“It is part of having a pet, and you were the one who told us you wanted a dog.”
“But I didn’t know I’d have to pick up their crap.”
“And if you see the puppy starting to pee inside, pick it up quickly, carry it outdoors, and let it finish in the grass. Each time the puppy pees or poops in the grass, then you can give it one of these treats when you come inside. That way it will associate doing its business outside and will start to let us know when it has to go outside to do that.”
“Oh, ok,” they agreed.
After the puppies had eaten and the boys had taken them outside to do their business, we had them wash up for dinner. During dinner, the puppies were wandering around and checking out the house while we were eating, so Ryan, Noah, and Elliot got to see them too.
“I’m glad I’m on the third floor so I don’t hear them barking at night,” Ryan quipped.
“The puppies will be sleeping in a carrier in the family room for now, so you don’t have to worry about that,” Brandon offered.
“They are cute and would probably make good hunting dogs,” Noah added.
“But none of you hunt,” Pop pointed out.
“Yeah, but they would still be good for that if we did,” Noah replied, not giving up.
“And I’m glad the boys have the puppies to play with,” Elliot added. “I always wished I had a dog when I was their age, but we weren’t at home long enough each day to take care of one.”
“You can play with them too,” Tristan told him.
“Thanks,” Elliot responded with a grin.
After we finished eating, the boys went to play with the puppies until it was time for them to get ready for bed. I placed the carrier in the family room, lined it with pads, and then I put a couple of toys in there as well. When the boys headed upstairs to shower, Brandon and I put the puppies in the carrier, and they began to whine as soon as we closed the door. We knew they would adjust to it eventually and shut the door to the family room on the way out so their whining wouldn’t bother anyone.
When we made our rounds to say goodnight to everyone, we started in the twins’ room first. “Thanks for bringing the puppies home for us,” Hunter said.
“And thank you for letting us call the girl puppy Flash,” Hayden added.
“And I’m going to help take care of them too,” Wyatt added.
“Of course you are, because the puppies are for all of you,” I replied, which earned me a grin.
We then went to say goodnight to Tristan and Revin next. “I’m glad you got us the puppies, even if I have to clean up after them.”
“That’s part of being a dog owner.”
“And I like them too,” Revin stated next.
“And you’re part of our family, so they’re your dogs too.”
“Really? Thanks. Mom says we can’t have a dog cuz there’s no place for it to run around where we live.”
“Yes, they have to have exercise and there’s plenty of room for them to do that here.”
After saying goodnight to them, we went to see Benny and Joshie next. “Are you ok?” Brandon asked Benny after we entered their room.
“Yeah, I’m fine.”
“I was a little worried because I saw you react when Danny mentioned the carrier earlier.”
“Yeah, but I’m ok now. I’m not sure why I did that, but I’m ok now, cuz I now you’re not going to stick me in it.”
“No, we won’t, and you can come in with us if you need anything during the night.”
“Nah, I’ll be all right. I’ve got Joshie in here with me.”
“Ok then. Goodnight.”
We then made our way to the third floor to say goodnight to the older boys, and then we went down to say goodnight to Holly.
“Thank you for getting the puppies, because my brothers always wanted a dog.”
“Yes, and so did Tristan.”
“And you let them name the one puppy Flash, after the character in the book that Mom used to read to them.”
“Yes, it was their suggestion.”
“I’m glad Mom asked you to let us live with you, because I’m not sure we would have done this well anywhere else.”
“I’m glad your mom asked us as well, because we like having all three of you in our family.”
When we went out to chat with the others, they wanted to show us the videos they took. Each one got a different angle, so we got to see the boys’ reactions from multiple vantage points.
“Their reactions are priceless,” Brandon stated when he saw the videos.
“Yes, they are,” I agreed. “Please send those to us, because we’ll want to keep them so we can show the boys when they’re older.”
“Yes, we’re going to do the same thing,” Trey agreed. “You can also show them to Julie so she can see the excitement in Hayden and Hunter’s eyes, and for that matter Holly’s as well.”
“That’s a great idea,” I concurred.
After sitting and chatting with them for a while, we went upstairs to get ready for bed, because we had church in the morning.