One week ago when I wrote my dog-sitting article, I had no idea that my parents were secretly thinking about getting another dog. On Saturday afternoon, I was sitting in the backyard with my mom when she casually brought up the fact that she was thinking about getting a puppy. When both my sister and I left home at the same time, she said that empty-nester syndrome really affected her. While she was nervous about introducing a new dog into our 8-year-old lab's life, she thought it might give both her and our current dog, Ollie, some well-needed company.

Grace Bellman

Two days after this conversation, we were on our way to a family friend's house to visit the litter of 8-week old black labs. After almost an hour-long discussion, we decided on "Red Paws" named after the design of his collar. As a family (after much thought and debate), we decided to name him, Harry. We were looking for a calm and gentle dog, similar in nature to Ollie. "Red Paws" was excitable and happy at first but slowly settled into our arms for a nap. He likes to hide behind pillows on the couch until all you can see is his hind legs sticking out from behind his fort.

They say dogs and their owners are reflections of one another. And I believe it. My dad and Ollie are so similar in many ways. They both stick their tongue out when they are concentrating and they both have an enthusiasm for life that is infectious. Hopefully, Harry will be the same. He is already settling into our daily routine and adopting some typical Bellman characteristics. He knows that in the evenings we all gather around the TV for dinner to watch NBC and PBS News. He is also slowly learning that we all learned to swim at a young age and that our dogs are no exception. We put him in our pool in our backyard for the first time the other day. Let's just say, he has some work to do. Learning to keep his head above water would be a great start.

I am excited to have a young puppy become a member of the family. Dogs are truly great companions and make home feel a little less lonely. Ollie has been a source of great comfort throughout middle school and high school, and somehow he always puts me in a good mood. Although Harry is young, I am excited to see him watch and imitate Ollie's mature behavior and grow into his rather large paws. Despite all the biting, chewing, and general mischief, I can see he has good intentions and desperately wants to please us.

So welcome to the family, Harry Bellman. You are coming into a very loving home. We are a little strange and some of us talk with weird accents (ie. British ones) but I think you will fit right in.