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MEETDUKE An Unexpected Addition to the Hart Household
From the moment our mangy, quirky pup Spunky wandered into my parents’ laundry room decades ago, I’ve almost always had a dog around the house, and the same for my wife. But until recently, my wife, kids, and I had to put our love for man’s best friend on hold for the sake of our family’s health. Luckily, a few weeks back, circumstances changed, and today, I’m happy to introduce the newest member of the Hart clan: our goofy, floppy goldendoodle puppy, Duke! Though the kids have been begging us to bring a dog into the house for years, we always just assumed it wasn’t in the cards. You see, before we had kids, my wife Stefanie and I were avid dog owners. Hank the Pug and Bob the French Bulldog were slightly smaller than the dogs I tend to prefer, but they were endearing little guys and a lot of fun. But when my oldest son Mason arrived, we quickly realized the situation was a no-go; Mason was highly allergic to dogs and many other things at that time. From that point on, there was never any hesitation for me and my wife as to whether dogs were an option. Mason’s health was top priority. The good news was that my in-laws volunteered to take in Hank and Bob, where they ended up living out the rest of their long, bumbling, cheerful lives in peace. My entire family loved dogs, and yet, it seemed we’d never have a pooch around. Aside from some occasional prodding from the kids, I think we’d all pretty much resigned ourselves to this fact. That is until Stefanie got word that our kid’s school, St. Michael’s Lutheran, would be auctioning off a goldendoodle pup at their annual fundraising auction. A hypoallergenic breed, those puppy eyes — she didn’t stand a chance. But Mason’s allergies are more serious than most, and from her research, Stefanie learned that not ever y goldendoodle is completely hypoallergenic. We had to know for sure.
We were able to reach out to the organizers and arrange for a trial run about a week before the auction. On four different occasions, we had Mason pal around with the goldendoodle pup, just letting him go wild
rubbing his face in its fur, letting it lick his hands, the whole nine yards. After Mason didn’t react once the entire time, I knew we needed to get our bid paddles ready. In the midst of a charity auction, this adorable puppy was going to experience some price inflation. When it came time for the auction, Stefanie and I had a ballpark bid in mind, figuring it’d stay around a certain sum. But, as you can probably guess, the bid flew past that number pretty quickly. But, who were we kidding? My wife was hellbent on getting this puppy, and honestly, I’m glad. Were we going to let this opportunity to finally have a dog, one who we’d had the unique opportunity to test out with Mason, slip by? Between that and the fact that the money was going to a fantastic cause, the decision was basically made for us — also because my wife was never going to stop bidding. That adorable bundle of fur and energy came home with us that night. As you can probably guess, the kids have been jacked up ever since. Stefanie and I are happy to finally have a pup cruising from room to room. He hasn’t been too much of a terror yet, just a shredded shirt here and a piddle there. Though, lately, for the first time since I started driving the kids to school nine years ago, I’ve been seconds away from making them late. As it turns out, a puppy takes a lot of your attention!
VanDyk Mortgage | www.TimHartJr.com | 239-437-4278
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