Joel and I were talking tonight over dinner, and we suddenly realized that it was one year ago this weekend that I went to Montana to pick up Eleanor. Six weeks after losing Muddy and then Reba, our new puppy was finally big enough to take home. My friend Hilda and I were on the road by seven, and by ten that Sunday morning, I was able to take this first (of many) photos of her.

My Very First Eleanor Photo

My Very First Eleanor Photo

Hilda and I stopped off in Big Timber to see Karen and Juli and have brunch at the Grand Hotel. If you’re sick, either in body or spirit, I highly recommend holding a puppy. It’s impossible to not feel better when you’re holding a wiggle ball of puppy breath.

I made it back to Bridger and got Eleanor into the house with all of the rest of mum’s dogs (all four of them!) Eleanor went to the relative safety of the dining-room table and chairs, giving me this look. My friend Bob said that he had to go look at lizards for a while after seeing this face.

Eleanor under the Chair

Eleanor under the Chair

Before I left for Austin, dad and I stopped in Billings to see my grandmother. This is one of my favorite photos of Eleanor, mainly because it was the last, good photo of my Grandma Molly. Grandma looked like herself here, and I can almost hear her laugh. (For those of you that never heard her laugh, words fail me in describing it. For those of you that did hear her laugh, I bet you’re hearing it again just reading this sentence.)

Grandma Molly and Eleanor, May 2013

Grandma Molly and Eleanor, May 2013

I felt terrible leaving to go to the airport. As we left the dining area to get to the car, many of the women there were reaching out to Eleanor. It had been so long since they’d seen something young and warm and wiggly, and they would have loved nothing more than to hold her all afternoon. (I’m pretty certain Eleanor would have been on board with this as she loves both laps and attention.

In Austin, some friends held a puppy shower for Eleanor, where she enjoyed copious amounts of snuggling and her first ice cube. She almost made it through without an accident, but sadly nature called, right in front of the door. Sigh…

The rest of this first year has been hiking, swimming, “gardening,” multiple toys, shaking in inappropriate locations, sleeping in the middle of the bed

And this is our life now, Eleanor and Beatrice and all. I wouldn’t trade them for anything, not even for a good night’s sleep, socks that have not been chewed, or shoes without missing pieces.

Eleanor and Beatrice, the Naptime Snuggle Monkeys

Eleanor and Beatrice, the Naptime Snuggle Monkeys