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Lessons in Puppy Love

Updated: Jun 28, 2022

On March 9, 2017, in a moment of complete insanity, our family decided to adopt two dogs. And when I say our family  I really mean me, with my husband realizing I was too hell bent on the decision to be stopped. After putting our cat Nigel down last summer, we were thinking of adding ONE dog to the family. But the whole idea of a Kerr family dog was merely in concept phase, not execution.

poodle sleeping

Well, God has a way of putting people in your life that need to be there, as well as blowing up any rough plans or timelines you have in mind. Through a work interview, I was fortunate to meet and talk with local animal advocate John Garrido, who blew me away with the amazing things he does for lost and stray animals here on the Northwest Side. (His Northwest Side Hero story to come soon...) He even has the Garrido Stray Fund named after him that could use your support. Once he heard our family was looking, he put me in touch with Lauren Bizzotto at The Dog House of LC&L, who was fostering a few local strays looking for a new forever home. Enter Lucy and Ethel, two pups that had my family's heart at first glance. The fur, the cocked heads, the sad eyes—how could we say no?  

I fell in love with Lucy, the klutzy poodle mix. My son fell in love with Ethel, the sweet Shih Tzu.

"How perfect," Lauren said, "because they come as a pair!" 

That's how we ended up with two. We brought them home and suddenly our controlled chaos of a life with two kids became total mayhem. Did I mention Lucy wasn’t housetrained? Our nice rugs have been relegated to the closet and I'm convinced our floors will never be clean again. For the first few weeks, I didn’t sleep through the night because I was letting the dogs out in the middle of it. It was like having two furry newborns.

But like baby giggles and smiles, Lucy and Ethel repay all the extra work in wagging tails, friendly face licks, and bottomless enthusiasm. Our kids will sit on the couch and just watch them wrestle, romp, and then snuggle, over and over again. But they bring much more than amusement. These two strays are teaching my kids—heck, all of us—important lessons about love. Lessons every pet owner is lucky enough to receive:

That real love is bottomless and has no strings attached.

That real love comes from gratitude for the little things: having a home, food to eat, and someone who cares about them.

Lucy and Ethel are constant reminders of real love, and I hope they inspire us all to act in kind—just hopefully with fewer accidents. 

Nora Kerr is the owner of Memoir for Me, documenting the life stories that matter.


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