When Theo came home with us, he wasn't afraid. I was so worried that he would feel completely displaced from his siblings and everything familiar to him, but I quickly realized that the journey he had already been through during his short 7 weeks of life was much more hectic than adjusting to our home would ever be. I don't have any experience with shelter dogs, but Theo already seemed so much more adaptable than the puppies I had as a child, and even more mild-tempered than any we had met up until then. He potty trained fairly quickly, he didn't chew things up that he wasn't supposed to, and he has always been incredibly tolerant of Beau's pokes, tugs and bear hugs. I certainly wouldn't know if that has to do with his early life, but Theo is without a doubt an incredibly loving, amazingly old soul.
Theo and Beau's relationship was immediate. The media craze came right as we were getting to know Theo and he was getting more comfortable with us. I got busier, the kids were just getting their feet wet in a new elementary school, and our lives were ramping up at an incredible pace.
Theo and Beau defied the chaos. They played and cuddled in perfect parallel and got to know each other in the most adorable way possible.
It always seemed as though they saw beyond their species and regarded each other as playmates of the same feather, eventually evolving into a full-blown brotherhood.
I watched and casually observed and snapped photos, but I don't think I was really understanding that Theo was filling a spot in our lives, specifically Beau's life, that was anxiously waiting to be filled. He craved that companionship, as his older brother and sister have always had each other and that camaraderie.
This little pup has changed our lives in so many wonderful ways that it almost physically pains me to think about our life pre-Theo. He is truly magic.
Not much has changed since last fall, aside from their appearances.
At nearly 7 months, Theo is just beginning to be a little unruly by testing his boundaries. Every so often he'll quickly steal some of the kids' food from wherever they're eating, or hide under the bed chewing up something he knows he's not supposed to. It's almost as though he's doing it out of sheer obligation and age, because his ultimate reaction is always guilt; his ears go back and he drops whatever he's doing. And it's almost impossible to be frustrated with him, but we're all working on learning new training tactics together and things are getting smoother.
If only I could manage the same with my 2-year-old, who does things deliberately to cross any and all boundaries specifically for the reaction.
They are still very much just enjoying their youth and companionship together.
When I look at the early photos, it seems like it was nearly forever ago that we brought Theo home. Babies and puppies grow at a nearly heartbreaking rate, though. I'm constantly reminded that we are still at the beginning of their relationship and our story, now that Theo is in it, is changing all the time in the best ways.
I guess this has been the biggest surprise for me personally, through everything that has happened over the last few months. I never thought that the process of rescuing and raising a puppy would be this wonderful, and this influential on my children's lives. Theo continues to teach us all about love, patience and compassion, and it's taking everything I have not to run out and adopt them all.
They're still napping together, too. My daily dose of reflection and zen.
This post originally appeared on Momma's Gone City. Follow Jessica on Instagram @mommasgonecity.
Follow Jessica Shyba on Twitter: www.twitter.com/@MommasGoneCity