I can’t tell you how many requests I’ve had for a full story about our nine-year-old Chocolate Lab, Webster! Ask any of our friends—Webster sits on a pedestal. We literally take him everywhere and truly consider him one of our children. Before having kids so many people warned us that “Once you have children Webster will be just a dog,” and honestly that has never happened. If anything we baby him more since having kids because he is such a gentle soul. Charlie and Jack adore him, he kind of likes them and life is so much sweeter because of him.
Dave and I started dating in September of 2009 and in November, Dave found an ad for chocolate lab puppies in the Chicago Tribune (Dave grew up with labs and had always wanted his own). They were $500 and being held at a home about an hour west of the city. He decided that he was going to drive out there with one of his buddies while I was at work. I remember asking him if he was reallllly going to get a puppy and his response was “Only if it is love at first sight.” 4 hours later I still hadn’t heard from him so I sent a text saying “What’s going on?!” and his response was “It’s love.” Webster is from HillView Kennels in Birchwood, Wisconsin.
So all of a sudden this little brown ball was added to our relationship and for six years we were a little trio.
Webster has been our baby since day one. He has always been this kind spirited, old man with the most loving temperament. He loves to be outside, loves to wrestle, loves to play catch, loves to swim, loves to EAT and loves to sleep. Our days before kids consisted of lots of long walks, travels just the three of us and a lot more cuddles.
Both of these photos were taken the first week we were home with Charlie. Honestly, Webster’s transition to kids was probably a little tough. However, Webster’s transition to anything isn’t always easy. He is such a creature of comfort and for sure has some issues with doggie anxiety. He is a gentle giant and definitely seemed to feel some sort of sadness when our attention was divided. We literally went on 3-mile walks, every day, rain or shine for almost six years—reality hit and that didn’t happen as often as we would have liked for a good six months. But he was, of course, the most loyal, loving friend. He sort of avoided Charlie and just wanted to be with us, or would hide in our bed and just choose to lay low. He definitely kept to himself when we first transitioned to life with kids!
I think as I found my confidence as a mom, I was way more capable of handling the duties of both of my kids. We got outside more and life was pretty much back to normal! Webster was six when Charlie was born and although he still sort of keeps to himself most days and would prefer to go on long walks with just Dave and me—he is so sweet and gentle with our boys. A few random facts about Webster: he LOVES to swim—he would swim all day, he lives for breakfast in the morning, is obsessed with his blue squeaky ball, loves to hear the words “Webster do you want to go to the park?,” his ability to transform a pillow into a headrest is pretty unbelievable, he loves to sleep in between Dad’s legs in bed and sit on our front steps and watch the world go by.
When Dave and I decided to buy a house the first person we were so happy for was Webster. When we lived in the city we were on the third floor of a walk up and we could start to see it become harder for him. We were so excited to give him a yard! Then we welcomed Jack and his world was slightly rocked once again except that Webster and Jack are buddies. Charlie is a little hyperactive and Jack and Webster were kind of born with the same old soul. They have a special little bond.
This year Webster will be 10! I can’t promise the rest of his years will be stress-free. Dave and I always laugh that Webster probably looks around and thinks “Whyyyy is this my life now?” haha. We personally do our best to prioritize him as much as we can (for example, yesterday I left my phone at home and took him on an hour-long walk, just us). Maybe it’s a mental thing that only crazy pet owners understand but I truly feel that those moments of one on one time are just as important for him as they are for Charlie and Jack.
Webster, my eyes well with tears just thinking about the day when you won’t be with us. It’s clear that the only thing that brings you pure joy is your dad, then maybe me and food. You are the most loyal, loving dog in the whole world and you’ll forever be my first baby. The hardest thing about being a pet owner is that they don’t live as long as us. Thank you for loving us no matter what chaos we bring through the doors. We love you forever and ever.
I just want to note: for those of you who fear the day when your fur baby isn’t the only baby. Your relationship only has to change if you let it! Sure we had moments where Webster drove me nuts and was in the way but those instances were nothing compared to the ones where he laid by my side as I cried, woke up with me during night feedings when I felt alone and always greeted me with a wagging tail.