(I wrote this yesterday, so humor me.) It's my dog's birthday. He is four. Since our family has recently lost two beloved canine friends, I feel like I need to throw a party for Beckham today. I haven't been as loving to him as I should be lately. If I had it in me I'd go buy him some new toys and chews and maybe make him something yummy to eat. But really, why would I need to make anything? He'd be so happy if I just gave him some hot dogs or some uncooked ground beef out of the fridge. Tonight we'll give him some leftovers and he'll be so happy.
In honor of Beckham's fourth birthday, I'll tell you about how he came to be ours. We had just gotten home from England and moved straight to Irving. We were desperate to get a dog as soon as possible, so we rented a townhouse with a fenced backyard that was a stone's throw from a great park with a big pond and lots of ducks and squirrels. Rewind a couple months to a Sunday before we actually moved. We were at Houston's First Baptist and I ran into Helen C. on the way into church. She told me she was feeling tired and frazzled because she had a new puppy. It was a British blonde golden retriever, which is exactly what we were hoping to get one day. Her puppy, Bella, was from a breeder in Georgia.
That October we moved into our puppy-perfect townhouse and immediately started the search for our new baby. We already had a cat at this time, but he was very independent, not cuddly, and basically psychotic. If I looked him directly in the eye he would lurch at my head. When I was pregnant with Jackson he decided to mellow out and become a good cat. My pregnancy made him obsessed with me, no lie. He wanted to lay on my belly all the time. Is that not weird? Even so, he was never really our "baby." Okay, so I did a search online for Bella's breeder and I was able to find them. They were not planning another litter, but they had one puppy left that was Bella's brother. He had been the breeder's favorite male and she had saved him for a friend who ended up not being able to take him. We were kind of sad that he would already be 13 weeks old and we would miss the puppy breath stage, but we felt like this was our dog!
We talked through some names and, having just been in the UK during Euro 2004 (a soccer tournament for European nations), we decided to name him after one of the British footballers. Our choices were Owen, Rooney, and Beckham. Well, who better to name a handsome blonde dog after than David Beckham? Beckham it was. If I ever go temporarily insane and let us get another dog, we will name it Rooney.
Beckham was shipped to DFW airport on a Delta cargo plane. You have never seen two more excited people in all your life than Curtis and I were on that day. (We would surpass that in February of 2006!) We went to the cargo building and waited with some other pet people for our animals to be handed over to us. There were a couple of ladies waiting for a special show cat. They already knew the drill and had come prepared with towels. Towels? Why would we need those? What was fun was that all the people there for animals were so excited to see everyone else's pets.
We were finally taken to Beckham's crate. He was trembling, soaked in pee, and wouldn't come out of his crate. But he was so cute. Eventually we got him out of the crate and the cat ladies lent us a towel to dry him off. Sick, I know. That stinky white fluff ball rode on my lap on the way home. We were so happy!
Even though it was dark when we got home, the first thing we did was walk him down to the park so he could see how sweet his new life was going to be. I have such a vivid picture in my mind of Curtis skipping down the sidewalk with his big old Clifford puppy bumbling behind him. Curtis' inner seven-year-old was having the time of his life.
It took about two weeks to potty train that dog, but his bladder was already big enough to hold a lot. The carpet was pretty much ruined. Yeah, we didn't get our deposit back from that place.
As soon as Beckham was old enough, we started taking him to White Rock Lake dog park where he could scamper around with other dogs and swim at the doggy beach in the lake. When he was five months old he retrieved a small tree out of the water. It was 11 feet long and as big around as a man's bicep. We were beaming with pride and we hoped all the lab owners just happened to see it.
We took Beckham everywhere we could and he was really the ultimate dog. And still is. He has obviously taken a back seat to Jackson, but he has done so graciously. When Jackson was born he would never leave his baby's side. Wherever Jackson was, you could be sure that Beckham was no more than two feet away. He has been incredibly sweet, patient, and eager to please. I have tons of stories of how he nearly drove me insane, and in fact did drive me to get counseling over my anger issues, but I will leave those stories out in honor of his birthday. You know, it may have been the greatest gift of all that he made me deal with my junk, even though I hated the journey toward it. He definitely got me ready for motherhood.
I love you, Beckham J...you big, white, smelly jug head!