Friday, July 04, 2008

Four on the Fourth

(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 big, white, smelly jug head!


ocean mommy said...

Those are some great photos! :)

Our little toy poodle turned two on the fourth. My man grilled him a steak. I thought that was a little extreme, but Paddington is his only son so....

have a great weekend!!

Patty said...

How precious!!! I can't remember a day in my life that I haven't had a dog. I am a dog person. Our dogs live in the house. Our year old Daisy is a blast. She is a beast and sweet. We walk in after being gone awhile or from just checking the mail and she stands up and gives us a side hug. She can high 5 for treats. She is smart, she knows 3 tricks. hehe
It was fun reading about Beckman and I loved seeing him in the video at LPM the other day. :)

Happy Birthday Beckman!

Melinda said...

One of our goldens, back when, was born on the fourth, too...she was a lovely little gal named Liberty, who was, of course, called Libby for short.

You just can't beat a good dog!

Tell Beckham he looked FAB on the Summer Bible Study video...very photogenic. :o)

Amy Beth @ Ministry So Fabulous! said...

Thought # 1 while reading: How sweet!

Thought # 2 while reading: Beckham would eat my 5 lb. Snuggles and Cuddles alive.

Big Mama said...

Happy Birthday, Beckham. You're a handsome boy.

Also, I think Gulley had that same cat. PSYCHOTIC.

FitzandMolly said...

ooh - I like him! He's a cutie.

Fran said...

Oh Amanda...I know how a dog can melt our hearts! Our "Bailey" has ours and we love her just as much.

Thanks for sharing his story. He is simply adorable!!

Hope you have had a fun weekend!
Thought about Melissa and Deeper Still...I'm in Hotlanta for a Braves game...celebrating my oldest turning 12!!!

lori said...

How funny Beckman was just on the LPM blog too!!
He is a cutie

Gayle @ thewestiecrew said...

Ok, first of all, I have to say that photo of you and Curt is gorgeous!!

Beckham is such a sweetie puppy, I can tell! It just about broke my dog-lovin heart to think of the poor little guy scared in that plane. :(

We did the 2nd dog thing a few years ago (and I already have 4 children), and it was CRAZY hard...just in case you ever do go insane because it *can* happen... ;)

Sadly we lost our first puppy-girl this past September, though. :( So it ended up being a good thing that we did go "insane" the year before....

Anyway...sorry for the ramble! ~Happy Birthday Beckham!!~

Angela said...

My cat (male) laid on my tummy through out both of my pregnancies. In fact the cat knew I was prego before I did. Now, he doesn't come near me, because I brought another human into the house.

Erin Ward said...

I love dog birthdays.

Beckham is so sweet. Maximus can't wait to see him next month.

Callie said...

Beckham you are a sweet dog! Happy Birthday! Talk mom and dad into letting you lick the bottom of the cereal bowl in the mornings. Our Sadie girl loves that!

Anonymous said...

Those are great pictures of Beckham!

I had a Black Lab that was a part of our family too. When my oldest son was born she would push his bassinet back and forth across the room and bring him special treats that she would drop in for him (a bone, chew toy whatever).

They are great but do drive you crazy at times!

Sunni at The Flying Mum said...

I love the vintage pictures of Beckham. I kind of miss his turbo tail.

Anonymous said...

Our chihuahua's 5th birthday was on the 4th, too. Only I completely forgot about it until I read your blog. Good thing she's my dog and not one of my kids. We used to have the ultimate dog - but sadly she passed away in Ginger. We're left with her step-sister. NOT the ultimate dog. I might need to see the same counselor you did . . . . . lol.

Happy Birthday, Beckham!

Cindy-Still His Girl said...

The sentence I am clinging to, "
It took about two weeks to potty train that dog."

Just got our first puppy. I'm exhausted!

Happy Birthday, Beckham! You should ask your mommy for some haystack treats to share with the neighbors!

Kristin said...

Happy Birthday to Beckham!


Anonymous said...

I have a Golden Retriever, Dexter. He is almost 8. My oldest daughter actually bought him one year with her Christmas money. She called me from my Mom's house to let me know she found the ad. We drove two towns away and my husband picked Dexter from the remaining puppies left because of "his large paws".

I did not have many pets growing up and therefore did not quite make the connection of his paws with his future size.

Like you, I have gone through many challenges. Yes, the Lord sure has used him to teach me a thing or fifty.

Dexter is definitely a large dog and apparently outgrew my two oldest girls. Yea, now...they want a "small" dog. NO!

When I became pregnant with Sophie who is now 21 months, I knew Dexter would be great with her. I kept children in my home for many years and he was great with all of them.

Sure enough, he was protective towards Sophie.

Your post today reminds me to be thankful for him, to be more kind and "forgiving" of all of the hair I sweep up now that he is shedding his summer coat.

Okay...sorry that was so long! You just really hit a spot with me....I've been very cranky about the hair everywhere! Sorry, Dexter. I imagine you would prefer to be shaved and cooler...not that you're outside much! ;)

Kelly said...

Isn't it funny how much we can love our dogs????

Anonymous said...

Happy 4th Birthday Beckham! Jackson has an awesome playmate!

Holly said...

Funny, I married a man, whose only real dogs growing up were hunting dogs and certainly not pets. So being a dog lover, I "greatly encouraged" (read "nagged") my Chris for a dog. So we got one. It died after seven years. Then we got another--run over on the highway by our home. Then we got two--had to give them to some friends on a farm before moving to Colorado with our point one eight acre of property. They were costly--chewed through hoses and various pool toys and scracthed and chewed on the house. They were messy. But oh, how I loved them--and how my Chris did not.

So I love to read about people's dogs stories and hear abou them. It may be as close as I'll get to another dog this side of Heaven.

Anonymous said...

Aww!! I have a golden too! Aren't they the BEST dogs? Beckham is sooo cute. Mine is one years old so she is def. still in the puppy stage. They are beauitful dogs, could not be sweeter, and def. please their master(s)! Once you're a golden retriever lover I think you're hooked for life!

Erin said...

Awwww, I want a puppy! Ok, not really...but this makes me want one more than I did ten minutes ago! Miss ya sister!

Susan B. said...

Great pictures! Happy b/day, Beckahm!

Angie @ Flibbertigibberish said...

Happy Golden Birthday, Beckham! :)

This post made me miss my pup. *sniff* He's SOOO cute! (Or is that handsome?)

Kathleen said...

Love the pics of your Beckham! I would love a Golden. We have a 7 yr old Chocolate Lab named Cedar, who really thinks he is a person. We adopted him from a rescue organization at 1 yr old, and he cam as skitish as ever and full of ticks. He has been my picture of GRACE. We leave him in the house when we are gone, and he has learned to love eating loaves of bread, chocolate cake, muffins and anything we forget to put away. He jumps our wall and takes himself on a walk almost every night and then comes home. Our neighbors all watch out for him now. Often when I drive up he is wagging his tail just waiting in our driveway. Gotta love em' .

Kathleen said...

Love the pics of your Beckham! I would love a Golden. We have a 7 yr old Chocolate Lab named Cedar, who really thinks he is a person. We adopted him from a rescue organization at 1 yr old, and he cam as skitish as ever and full of ticks. He has been my picture of GRACE. We leave him in the house when we are gone, and he has learned to love eating loaves of bread, chocolate cake, muffins and anything we forget to put away. He jumps our wall and takes himself on a walk almost every night and then comes home. Our neighbors all watch out for him now. Often when I drive up he is wagging his tail just waiting in our driveway. Gotta love em' .

Julie and Alberto Robles said...

Happy birthday Beckham! Enjoy your special hot dog. This post reminds me of how much I love my little dogs. They are such a happy part of every day. I love the way dogs love you in a perfect fuzzy unconditional way.

Net Strand said...

Happy Golden Birthday to Beckham! Looks like you have your Christmas photo already.... oh, right, Jackson! :O)

It's All About Him said...

Happy Birthday Beckham!! I LOVE IT! Great story, Amanda. And I'm so excited for your parents getting their new puppy too, I knew it would happen soon! We lost our dog in January and 3 days later I had myself a new black lab puppy (Piper, yes after John) and yes, I'm a lab person :)
But I'm an any kind of dog person!
Have a great day,

Anonymous said...

What a cute puppy. My 2 girls (7 years and 2 years) is begging for a puppy. I can hardly make myself give in. I don't like the pee pee, etc., in the house. But they are working overtime on momma.

One other question off the subject of dogs and back to kiddos. Do you have any authors you recommend reading for discipline of 2 y/o??? My first one did NOT go through the terrible 2's but my oh my I am stuck in the throws of them now. If she doesn't get her way, it is throw myself on the ground and trying to teach her to share with her sister is like trying to teach the devil himself. I am just kind of at a loss how to handle her little tantrums and did not know if you had any suggestions or anything/anyone to read. If you would rather e-mail me instead of posting here, it is Thanks a bunch!!!!

Deedra said...

As someone who has also recently lost two beloved canines (labs) of 10 years, I can totally appreciate this birthday tribute to your sweet Beckham! Hope you all had a great holiday weekend!

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday Beckham! I love Golden's...second only to my yellow lab who just turned 8. He's geriatric now, but I think I love that even more than the pup phase.

Beckham is a beautiful dog. Pets bring life into a home. Along with kids, of course. Gosh, my house is spilling over with "life."

Anonymous said...

I'm about to go out of my mind with my one year old weimaraner's energy. Glad to hear it'll get easier. And our carpet is ruined too from housetraining and chewing. I stick my tongue out at people who tell me their puppy only had one accident in the house.

kolls said...

AWWWWW, labs are the best! I miss my Princess (an eight-year-old chocolate) so darn much - she's still with my parents in Dallas! Happy birthday, Beckham!

Emmy said...

Happy Birthday Beckham!

I have always had Golden's... We now have two blonde Golden's, Lilly and Scout, from a breeder in Georgia too... maybe same?!?

They are awesome... you are right so eager to please... they always makes me think of that bumper sticker that say's "God please make me the kind of person my dog thinks I am" something like that?!?

Anyway Happy Birthday Beckham... and your Dad too (I am a little late reading posts!)

Emmy : )

Katie said...

Oh my goodness, Amanda! I didn't know you had a Golden. We JUST got one last weekend, you have to come see him becuase he looks A LOT like Beckham! (Only he's "Charlie.")

Goldens are the BEST- my childhood dog was a Golden. The BEST, I tell ya!

katiegfromtennessee said...

Too cute Amanda, you are a great story teller! The part about the cat lurching at your head cracked me up! I met a girl once with a cat like that on one of my temp assignments...Beckham is a blessing to you!...anger management is definitely a good thing to pursue:)


Amanda said...

H., I got your comment but I wasn't sure how to reply to you. No, I wasn't joking about the anger thing. It is a generational sin in my family. Getting counseling (from a biblical counselor) was a very good thing for me. I don't want to pass it on to my children. I pray God will make it clear whether it would be helplful for you too. Blessings to you!

Helen C. said...

I have been so busy lately (at work)and just had a chance today to catch up on your blog.

Bella and I thought about Beckham all day (on the 4th) - wondered what he was going to be up to on his B-Day. We spent it at my sister's house. I sang Happy Birthday to Bella and included Beckham's name as well. She just looked at me with that cute smile of hers.

We still need to get together with the dogs sometime in the future.

BTW - Bella and I will be going to the Houston Dog Show this weekend (on Sat). Kids get in free! If you all are free perhaps we can see you there!

Happy Birthday (again) Beckham!!!

Helen (and Bella)