In case you’re confused, this story is not about the god of thunder. It’s actually about my dog! When people found out that I had gotten a puppy just 7 days after my husband passed away, I got a lot of different reactions. Of course, some people thought nothing of it and just wanted an invitation to cuddle my sweet puppy. Others had a worried sense, questioning if I was going to be able to handle a puppy on my own while navigating my new normal. Looking back, I can totally understand why people thought this way, but at the time I knew what I wanted and had a plan to get it.
I won’t lie – Thor came absolutely out of nowhere to most people, but there is a story that I think will help a lot of people understand my sudden decision to seek out a puppy. While Will was in the hospital, we had a close family friend reach out and offer my parents and I a place to stay. This family opened their home to us when we had nowhere to sleep, shower, or just relax. To my parents, this was a huge blessing as it finally meant no longer hopping from hotel to hotel. To me, this was scary as it meant that I finally would have a place to go besides Will’s bedside or the waiting room. Those were my safe places. I felt like if I were anywhere else, I would miss something going on in the hospital room or even worse, not be there if God had decided to take Will home.
While I dreaded the car ride to our temporary home away from home, I knew I needed to sleep and take a shower somewhere other than a hospital. We were warmly welcomed by kind friends. It was that evening that I met Kasey, a sweet cockapoo that laid by my feet in the living room as we all sat around talking about life and the events of the last two weeks. It may seem silly, but while sitting there, I felt comforted not only by the hospitality of our friends, but by this sweet dog that I could tell somehow knew I was anxious.
My family and I didn’t get to spend more than a day or two with these friends, as shortly after our arrival Will entered the gates of Heaven. We said our goodbyes to our friends and after finalizing details with the hospital, began the long, silent drive home.
I’ll skip the long car ride and the initial shock of being home – that is all a totally different story. Not more than a day or two after being home, I told my dad that I wanted a dog. Specifically, I wanted a cockapoo and was willing to drive wherever we needed to, to find one. We started with shelters. We searched online at shelters all over the Carolina’s. We searched breeders, but found that the waiting lists were much longer that I was willing to wait. I wanted a dog right then, not 3 months or 2 years from then. Sweet dogs were everywhere, but my heart was set to find a dog that would remind me of sweet Kasey who was there to comfort me during such a difficult time.
I truly believe that God was in complete control of what happened next. My dad found an online ad in the Charlotte Observer for a cockapoo puppy whose owner was no longer able to take care of him due to her own health issues. He was surrendered back to his breeder when he was about 11 weeks old and the breeder placed an ad for him as she didn’t have the occupancy to keep him in her home. My dad sent an email to the breeder while I started a list of names for the puppy that I just knew was meant to be mine. Within a few days, we were on the road to meet the little puppy we found in the ad. Just a 45 minute drive stood between me and this sweet baby!
When we got to the breeder’s office, she sat down with us and went over some paperwork before bringing in the puppy. After giving her our information and signing a few documents, she went to go get the dog and we waited anxiously for him to come in. I had decided to wait to name the dog until I saw him and spent some time with him. I was between three names: Chewy after Chewbacca which was Will’s favorite character from the Star Wars series, Gilmore after Happy Gilmore which is one of my favorite movies, and Thor which is after my favorite superhero from the Marvel movies. Once that puppy came in running between our legs and so full of excitement, I knew he was Thor. I also knew, I was not leaving the breeder’s office without him. He was mine!
We eventually loaded up the car and I sat holding Thor as we headed to the nearest Tractor Supply to get all the things dog related. I got peed on more than once and spent the next few hours trying to let Thor get use to our family. He was the sweetest boy, but nervous to be experiencing so many new things. He played fetch so well for a baby. For the first week, he only ate out of my hand because he was afraid of his food bowl. He was a fluff ball full of energy. He never napped and there was no “tiring him out.” It wasn’t until Thor was almost 2 years old that I finally witnessed him fall asleep!
Thor very quickly became a part of my family. He loved my parents and brother the day he met them! He came to church events with me. He welcomed guests into our home with cuddles and kisses. He traveled to see friends with me and meet other pups to play with. Thor was rotten and everyone knew it! In fact, and this is not something I am proud of, but it took him over a year to be potty trained, because I was just not good at discipline. Enter the next addition to our family – Zach.
Thor and I became one little family unit, but in October of 2019, we added a Zach to our family who has now replaced me as the favorite parent. Zach potty trained Thor within a few weeks and he was a whole new pup! He learned new tricks and now actually knows how to take naps instead of bouncing off the walls all day. We’re now one happy little family. Thor is all I ever wanted and more. He comforts me when I need it. He plays when I want a distraction. He cuddles when I just want to be lazy. Thor is the heart of our family and is a perfect reminder of beauty coming from ashes. Were my immediate requests for a dog a bit far-fetched? (Haha, pun intended.) Yes, but I’m so very thankful that my parents worked so hard to help my fill that desire during such a difficult time.
Over the years, Thor has gained many nicknames, some of which he actually now answers to: Thor, Pood, Hooman, Buggo, and the list goes on. At this point, Thor probably doesn’t know what his actual name is. Who else has a fur baby that they actually obsess over? What’s your favorite nickname for your little one?