We'd been talking about getting a dog for years and felt like getting an older dog might be a better choice for our family, so we looked into rescues. The rescue we went through, Arizona Labradors and Giant Breeds Rescue had a couple of suggestions of dogs for our family. The first dog they introduced us to was a beautiful lab with glossy black fur. Truly, she was gorgeous. And terrified of my two young, rambunctious sons. The folks at the rescue explained she'd been in a puppy mill and was extremely nervous around people. As pretty as she was, I realized living at our house would be too crazy for the poor girl. She needed a quiet, safe space and people who were calm and gentle, not two loud and crazy little boys who had no previous experience with dogs.
The next dog they brought in was a silly yellow lab, who, upon seeing our excited family, prompted peed the largest puddle I've even seen right there in the middle of the floor. My heart sank, but my husband says that's when he knew she was the girl for us.
Her name was Thelma. They assumed there had been a 'Louise' at some point in her past, but no one really knew her story. I immediately wanted to change her name because it seemed too mature for a young dog, but the kids felt it was mean and none of us could agree on anything better. Thelma it was.
It's crazy to realize that goofy, peeing yellow lab who didn't match her name at all has been such a big part of our family for 10 years now. My children have grown up with her and she's gone from a wild escape artist to an arthritic-kneed, white faced old girl who spends most of her days snoozing at my feet and whose name finally fits her personality. She's taught us all so much about patience and gentleness. She's helped me realize I should take every opportunity I can to get out and take long walks, because someday I might not be able to. We love her more than we ever thought possible.
To carry on a tradition my family had with our dog while I was growing up, we give Thelma her very own Arby's roast beef sandwich each year on her special day. (Well, except last year, because that day she took it upon herself to inhale two spicy McChicken sandwiches she discovered left by guys installing tile at our house. They went upstairs to check on the bathrooms and came downstairs to discover their lunches had mysteriously disappeared.)
So here is Thelma enjoying this year's celebratory sandwich: