We are falling more in love with little Bean (I'll explain more about his full name below) every day. We're still getting to know his personality, so I'm going to save my "Meet Bean" post for later, but I wanted to go ahead and write a post about how we ended up with this little guy! It's kind of a funny story, and overall it's felt very meant-to-be. The process of integrating him into our family has been so much fun but not 100% smooth sailing--there have been moments where we worry about how he fits into our lives or Willie gets annoyed with having a puppy in the house. So with that in mind, you can expect posts about bringing a new puppy into the house with an existing dog, as well as thoughts on crate training, socialization, and more. I can't wait to share all we've learned. But without further introduction, here's the story of how Bean came to be part of the family!
To set the stage, I should explain that we have been thinking about getting Willie a sibling for awhile--pretty much since we adopted him, actually! We knew that bringing two dogs on the Alaska trip would probably be too much, so we wanted to wait until we were back. But, as soon as we saw how much Willie LOVES other dogs , we thought it would be a great idea to get him a brother or sister.
When we started the search, we were pretty sure what our next dog would be like: a girl, pit bull, and most likely already a few years old. Well, as I wrote in my post about bringing home Willie, we make plans and God laughs. We ended up with a dog that is different in every way: a boy, a tiny little mutt, and a PUPPY! Not what we were looking for at all. But somehow, that convinces me even more that he was meant to be ours.
We'd been looking for a pit bull rescue and working with a few rescue organizations, mainly because we were worried about adopting from a shelter where we couldn't introduce Willie to the dog before adopting. With an existing dog, that's definitely an added complication. We contacted Angel City Pit Bulls and Bullies and Buddies (local rescue orgs) and even set up some meet and greets with adoptable dogs. But while we were mulling over what to do, we happened to run out of food for Willie. We went to our local pet store, Tailwaggers, for some food for him, and they happened to be having a cat adoption event at the time. Not being in the market for a new cat, I ignored the setup, and went straight for Willie's food in the back of the store. But then Grace pointed out that there was a little puppy right in the middle of all of the cat carriers! He was shaking like a leaf and seemed very confused and lonely. The lady from the rescue organization running the adoption said I could pick him up, so I gingerly lifted him into my arms . . . and he promptly stopped shaking and fell asleep. To say I was instantly smitten would be an understatement.
I don't know why, but we just felt something right away. We knew he wasn't what we were looking for, but he worked his puppy magic on us and we just felt like he had literally fallen into our lap, right when we were looking for a second dog. He needed a home (having been surrendered to the South LA Animal Shelter, a high-kill shelter in town, and then picked up by the rescue organization Homeless to Forever Foundation). And he was beyond CUTE and so sweet. Last but not least, I felt like I got a major sign from above in what he was wearing. Compare the two photos below:
He already matched Willie! I'm a sucker for "signs," so when I noticed that, it was kind of all over for me.
The person running the rescue said they had to schedule a home visit, which they did for later that week. They drove him to our house, checked out the puppy supplies we'd bought, supervised the introduction to Willie, and then he was ours! We kept him from that night forward.
Willie has been very curious right away, and he has been intensely interested in grooming Bean from day 1. We think it's a bonding thing. There have been a few moments where Willie has gotten sick of Bean's puppy ways, but I will save that for another post. For the most part, we're all becoming one big happy family :)
That said, the sweet sleeping puppy at Tailwaggers was kind of a ruse. Haha! I can't blame him, because he IS just a puppy, but we had some house training to do, and we've also been teaching him to be comfortable and not cry in his crate (side note: I was totally not into crate training before getting this puppy, but now I see how necessary it is and have been converted!). He is rambunctious, fun, silly, and super playful. So far he is definitely a big dog in a small dog's body, which is exactly how we want him to be given that his older brother is huge. He's done great at puppy playtime and boarding over Christmas, and I think he shows every sign of being a very good dog. It's just a different experience from adopting Casper and Willie, who were both totally trained when we got them! We have to work on Bean, but it's a new experience that we're grateful to have.
Now that I've told the whole story of how he came to be ours, here are a few FAQ's about Bean that I've been getting:
What's his name/how did you pick his name?
Bean's full name is Jellybean Jones Baldridge. It comes from Riverdale/the Archie Comics, and Jellybean is the baby sister of the character Jughead (Grace and I are big Riverdale fans). Jellybean hasn't actually appeared on the show yet, but she's mentioned in it, and she's part of the Archie Comics on which the show is based. We just thought the name Jellybean was so cute, so back when we thought we'd get a girl for our second dog, we decided to name her Jellybean and maybe call her Jelly or Ellie for a nickname. But when we ended up with little Bean, it still fit--but his nickname is Bean instead! I also thought Bean Baldridge was just the cutest little name. Plus, he curls up just like a little pinto:
What kind of dog is he? How big is he going to get?
The answer to both is kind of a mystery! I've never had a small dog before, and from what I understand they stop growing more quickly than big dogs do. That said, Bean is only about 4-6 months old, so it does not sound like he is done growing yet. He gained about 1 pound in 4 weeks, so we're hoping he'll get a little bit bigger! He's 10 pounds right now, and I think his full-grown weight will be 15-20.
As for what kind of dog he is, he's probably a combination of some or all of these breeds: mini dachshund, jack russell terrier, and chihuahua. As he grows, we'll probably be able to tell more, and I also plan to do a doggy DNA test for both him and Willie. I'm very curious, but ultimately it doesn't really matter--I firmly believe that breeds are just a guideline, and especially for a mutt, so much of it depends on training and the energy you (as the alpha) bring to the relationship.
Does Willie like him?
Mostly, yes. But we are setting really strict boundaries right now because of the significant size difference--our primary concern is safety, and our secondary focus is bonding and fun times between the doggies. But I have faith they will be best buds :)
Is it difficult having a puppy?
Honestly, yes, it's a lot more work than just with Willie! But Grace and I are "dog people" through and through. We love dogs of all shapes, sizes, ages, breeds, etc. And this is a new chapter in our life and new adventure--and we can't wait for MANY more years with little Bean! We love him and it's so much fun to share him on the blog.
Thanks for reading! I have lots more to share soon.