The Story of Hondo

If you're new here, Hondo is the name of our Bernese Mountain Dog. He is a feisty one-year-old boy who brings constant joy (and lovable annoyance) to our lives. He was truly our dream dog, but we never thought we'd have him so soon in our life! This is the story of why we have Hondo now, and what he means to us. After the last two years, I feel like I have a lot to come clean about, and this is one of those things. Hondo has never been "just a dog" to us or "just the next step" for us. He has great meaning to our lives and he is loved more than words can say. Let me tell you his story...

Four years ago, Tom and I were newly married and happily living in the Milwaukee area. We'd go on lots of dates and fill our weekends with activities and adventures. One weekend, we happened upon the Air and Water Show on the shore of Lake Michigan in the downtown area. While we walked, I was (of course) pointing out any and all dogs because... well, you guys, they're dogs and I love them. If you know me, you know how annoying I am about my love for animals.

Anyways, there was one dog in particular that stopped us both in our tracks. Well, maybe just Tom because I marched over to it without missing a beat. I'm like a moth to the flame - haha! This dog was beautiful. Unlike any dog I'd ever seen in my life! It was huge and its features and build were incredibly striking. It was being "handled" by a grown man who was being pulled by the dog's massive weight and curious nature as it darted among people and smells. I approached the man, open-jawed, and asked what kind of dog this beautiful creature was and he replied, "A Bernese Mountain Dog" before being whisked away again.

From that day on, we knew we needed to know more about these dogs. We spent the next year reading everything about them and educating ourselves on owning one of these bears. The greatest con for me was the thought of their shedding, but I knew someday I'd be ready to tackle it for the sake of their gentle-giant nature and sweet temperaments. I am far too much of a dog-person to let shedding keep me from snuggles, but not everyone is this way.

At this time, however, we were still living in apartments, moving each year to a new place. So we vowed to get our Berner after a couple of children so they would be able to remember him (Berners have a heartbreaking seven year life expectancy).

However, as you may have read in my last post, our plan for having children did not go as we expected.

After a year of disappointment and heartbreak, and aching for a child of our own to love and hold, we started looking for Hondo. Well, first I got desperate and nearly came home with a guinea pig one day, but finally, Tom too decided it might be good for our hurting hearts to get our Berner.

For weeks I contacted all the most reputable breeders I could find in our radius. No puppies, failed breeding, etc... until one breeder responded that she had a litter due later in the week! After a few days of hoping, everything aligned and our contract was signed. We'd be getting the boy we always hoped for! (Shout out to our wonderful breeder, Trisha - now you'll REALLY know what Hondo means to us!)

Hondo is our infertility puppy.

He fell into our lap at the exact right time and we have been so blessed to call him ours. He is loved immensely, and filled a big part of the aching in our chests. He is the perfect companion and keeps me company all day long. He is always a step behind me, with his floofy tail going at full speed. I know he's "just a dog" to anyone else, but to us, he is a truly a gift. Think whatever you'd like, but I know God meant for this sweet boy to help carry us through the last year. He's brought unending laughter and hope to our every day life, and I am forever grateful for the happiness he brought to our home during such a sad time. His presence helped lift the fog of infertility.

At 92lbs, he doesn't seem so much like a baby anymore, but I'll never forget the joy we felt bringing that 12lb ball of fluff home with us. It was a tiny fulfillment of the desire to love another little being within the walls of the home we hoped would be filled with itty-bitty human feet. Instead, we had big, furry puppy paws that pattered around. It wasn't a baby, and we knew that of course, but my goodness did he (and continues to) bring us such great love and wonder at watching him grow.

Maybe this post seems silly to you, but to me, it was time to tell you the truth. Hondo is our bear-sized, heart-healing, boy. He has quite literally soaked up my tears after the announcements of more and more pregnancies that were not us. He got me out of the house on days when I felt like curling up and never leaving the safety of my bed. His silly antics, and never ending pursuit of our happiness, has brought such light to our home on even the crummiest of days. He'll never be "just a dog" to me, because he'll always be the little love that helped mend my broken heart.

And that is the story of Hondo. Our infertility therapy puppy, and love of our life.