Introductions: Meet Puppy ‘Baxter’

As many of you know, I lost my shiba inu, Ryder, earlier this year. It was unexpected and heartbreaking, and I have many moments still today where my eyes tear up or I feel a melancholy about everything he missed out on. He was only ten and had such energy and love, but he was too sick to stay strong and we had to let him go. W and I had always talked about adopting another dog, but Ryder was very much an only-child and preferred to be with just us. We didn’t want to make his days more difficult, so we postponed bringing another puppy into the house.


Around March, we started discussing the best timing for adopting another dog, as we both missed having that lovable pet to play with at night or on the weekend. And perhaps with W and I suddenly by ourselves, we thought… hmmm… can we really only talk to ourselves and each other now at night? Ryder had been such a big piece of our lives together, we found ourselves with more free time and less conversations. The void needed to be filled but we knew it would take a while to find the right one. We love the breed and looked at a few rescue shelters, puppy stores, and breeders from the AKC website. It could take 9 to 12 months for the breeder to produce a puppy and reach us on the list.  We had some specific requirements as we wanted to get a different color than Ryder so the memory wasn’t too obvious. Ryder had a red coat, so we searched primarily for a red coat female or a black and tan male. I’ve had a cream colored before, and the red sesame is adorable but hard to come by.


We registered online with a few lists. I went to a few puppy stores and found one the day before our 3-week vacation. Timing is everything, huh? I couldn’t get him, but I also didn’t want to let him go. My mom (she’s awesome) volunteered to keep him for the three weeks, but we knew the puppy would develop an attachment to her (or vice versa?) and we might never bond the same way with him, so we said thank you, but we shouldn’t. We’ll wait to see if he’s still there when we return from Italy. The day before we returned, the little rugrat was adopted… it wasn’t meant to be. We arrived home the next day, unpacked, took a nap, picked up some groceries and did laundry. By late afternoon, we’d received an email saying we were now third on a list for a black and tan puppy from Kansas — so much sooner than we’d expected. It was too hot to ship him to the location of the person who was first on the list, so the breeder was letting us know that if the second person said ‘no’ that he was ours. An hour later, we had an email that the second person preferred a female, so we were faced with the choice: Are we ready?


We talked about it a bit and timing really is everything… It’s summer, we aren’t going anywhere for a few months, and I haven’t completely dived into writing my next book, so I’d have some free time. His pictures were adorable. We needed something to shake up our return from Italy (pictures and stories to come next week — this news took priority) as who wants to come back to normal life after such amazing vacation? So… we said yes, made the arrangements, and the little pup arrived in NYC on Thursday afternoon. He was born on March 16th, which is right in the middle of W’s and my birthdays. The other very coincidental connection is the timing on his birth. Shiba puppies are usually born about 60 days after they are conceived. Ryder passed away 60 days before this little one was born. I like to think maybe a little bit of Ryder’s spirit was passed into the new addition, so we have a bit of a connection already.


We’ve had him for 48 hours so far and he is every bit of a puppy. He’s voracious about biting things, way more than any other dog or puppy I’ve had in the past. I’ve threatened war with him many times. He’s successfully ripped off my glasses both mornings, torn a toy into pieces, pulled my shorts down while I was walking from one room to the other, and decided the couch legs are evil and must be sawed off with his teeth. Let’s not even discuss the corners of the carpet or any electrical cords. I’ve pulled up everything I can to keep him away, but there are a few we can’t unplug… he is my shadow or W’s shadow 24/7. We were lucky and he slept 7 hours straight the first night. Last night, he only made it 4 hours before getting restless in his crate. I might be too old to sleep on a floor again. It’s a work in progress yet one we already love!


More pictures to come, but I wanted to share a little bit of my news since returning from vacation and finishing up this week’s blog tour for Father Figure. Meet the new puppy: Baxter! I’m sure he’ll be all over the place on the blog in the coming months, but for now, he says hello and that he plans to torture us in these first few weeks.



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