Friday, June 26, 2020



I'm especially happy this Friday because, after 3 long months of searching for a rescue pup to bring in to our family, we finally have our happy ending!

If you follow me on Facebook or Instagram then you've probably seen Charlie already. I swear I'm like a proud new mom over here. My phone is filled with nothing but pictures and videos of his sweet face and I'm constantly sending them to my friends and family.  I feel like they are going to think this is cute for another few days and then they are going to tell me to knock it off. 😂 Same goes for all of you who follow me on social media. I'll try not to turn my entire feed into nothing but dog pictures. But I make no guarantees. 😉

Next week, I'm going to share all about our adoption experience and do my best to offer some tips based on what I learned during the process. Our experience was a full-on rollercoaster with lots of ups followed by disappointing downs but I'm so glad I stuck with it and didn't give up. (Although, trust me--there were definitely times I wanted to throw in the towel.)

Thankfully, Charlie just sort of fell into my lap last Sunday and it was like it was meant to be. We love our boy so let me introduce you!

Charlie is a 2yo, 17lb Shih Tzu mix. Your guess as to what he's mixed with is as good as ours. Bichon? Westie? Maltese? We aren't sure but at some point, I may order one of those doggie DNA kits to find out.

As for his backstory, we know that he was abandoned in his carrier at a shelter in Paris, TX, and was then rescued by the Paws of Love Animal Rescue (aka POLAR) here in the Dallas area. I went back and found the original post about him on the Paris, TX Animal Shelter FB page and it breaks my heart!

My baby was so scared! I have to admit, I was super nervous reading through the comments. I was just waiting for one of them to say "He's mine!". But most of them were just comments asking if he was available and saying how awful that was for someone to do that. Although, I'm so thankful they did.  It's so much better than just dumping him on the side of the road. I also saw that the post was shared 207 times...which just makes it seem unbelievable that somehow we ended up with him.

I can now say with confidence that Charlie is going to be living his best life. ❤

When POLAR posted his picture on their FB page on Sunday (Father's Day), I saw it and jumped on it.  By this point, I knew you had to act FAST in order to get your name on the list to be considered. I'd just lost out on another dog through this same rescue a couple of days before because the dog I wanted needed to be in a home with another dog so they had my app on file and I had been very actively "loving" and commenting on the pictures on their FB page. I ended up sending them a message on FB asking if they had any other information about him besides what they had posted with this picture.  (That he was 1yo, was 12lbs and a Shih Tzu mix. He ended up being 2yo and 17lbs.) Someone wrote me back really quickly and said she didn't know anything else but said she'd check to see who was fostering him and ask. She wrote me back within a half-hour and said that the director of the rescue was actually fostering him and "she said to give her a call. 😉"

Yes, I was feeling encouraged by that Winky face!!

I sent Craig a picture of him because he had gone to Louisiana with the boys for Father's Day weekend. I gave him the rundown on the situation and he just wrote back "cute".  Ugh. To be fair, by this point, he was used to me sending random dog pictures and them not working out.

I had skipped the Louisiana trip because I had been planning on painting my kitchen cabinets while they were out of the house. But I ended up getting overwhelmed with it all before I even started.  So glad I didn't start that little project because after I called the director and she told me that "Yeti" was great with kids, other dogs, housebroken, and barely made a he slept in his crate all night with no problem...I was giddy.  I tried not to get ahead of myself but then she said "So he is actually getting neutered tomorrow.  Would you want to maybe just pick him up from the vet and bring him home with you? It would be better for him to recuperate without a bunch of other dogs around him anyway. You can give it a little trial run for a few days and see what y'all think and then if you want we can finalize everything online later in the week."  WHAT?!!!  Was it really that easy?!  Of course I said ABSOLUTELY!!

After we hung up, I decided that this was going to be the BEST surprise for the boys! They had been disappointed so many times when I'd shown them pictures of dogs I was trying to get and then they fell through. So lately, I just hadn't shown them any b/c I didn't want their hearts broken over and over again. They kept telling me "We don't care what kind of dog.  We just want a dog!"

They had planned on being home by Monday evening so that would leave me with a few hours to myself with the dog before they got home.  But then I found out they had decided to stay one more night which was perfect so I could have more time to bond with Charlie and keep things quiet and calm while the anesthesia wore off after surgery.

I didn't even tell Craig about the dog though. The last he'd heard was that the director was going to call me and at some point and on Monday he texted asking if I'd heard anything yet. I just wrote back no not yet.  I didn't want to tell him because being surprised like that is fun and I wanted that for him.  But he's also a TERRIBLE liar, especially when it comes to surprising the boys.  And he'll drop hints and allude to things and before you know it, the boys have guessed. I didn't want him to have to deal with the anxiety of wanting to do that but also not wanting to get in trouble with Mama so not telling him either was the best decision. This was going to be so fun!!

Since we didn't really have much left from our other dogs, I knew I needed to hit up PetSmart.  I tried to stick with the necessities and not go overboard because I knew Amazon was just a click away. ;)

It was so much fun setting out the food/water bowls where we used to keep them for Abby & Odie, throwing a dog bed down in our living room, making a place for dog food and dog treats in our pantry again and hanging up a brand new collar and leash.  We didn't use a crate with our last two dogs but I really wanted to this time and since he was already crate trained, it seemed like a no-brainer. (WHY didn't I crate train my other two?! I have learned a lot from my experiences with them!)

I ended up telling some of my close friends who had been listening to me vent about adoption frustrations for the past 3 months, plus my parents and my mother-in-law (who promised not to say a word to Craig and the boys). I also posted something in my Deals Group on Facebook asking for name suggestions and a lot of y'all had a feeling something was coming! I just didn't want to spill it in public just yet since that would spoil the surprise for the boys.  I knew I didn't want to keep him as Yeti. I think that's an adorable name but I wanted to name him. I narrowed it down to 3 choices and said I'd wait to choose once I saw him. The 3 finalists were Charlie, Archie, and Cooper.

So on Monday afternoon, my friend Dani, drove me to the vet about 30 minutes away and we picked up a nervous little white pup. He sat in my lap the whole way home and gave us two little yips but other than that he was quiet and calm. AND ADORABLE.

He didn't seem to be in any pain from his surgery and warmed up to me pretty quickly.  Within a few hours of being home, he was giving me kisses and following me around like a little shadow.

As for his name, I knew I just kept leaning toward Charlie. I could hear myself calling him Charlie-Bear (don't ask me why) and the boys love that video that went viral like 10+ years ago where "Charlie bit my finger". Do y'all remember that? My boys have a video very similar to that back when Mason was a baby and Matthew was 2. They love to say "Charlie bit me" in their own faux British accents. 😂 (I had to look it up and add it here because it is just the cutest thing ever!)

So I was leaning toward Charlie when Dani said "He kind of looks like Charlie Chaplin with his little mustache." And she was right! Something about his eyes maybe too.  It was settled. We would call him Charlie.

And before you ask, no. I didn't want my family's input in naming him. 😂😂😂 I know that sounds harsh but I had been the one pouring HOURS AND HOURS into this whole thing for months now, completely on my own and by golly, I wanted to be the one to pick his name. (Yes, I said by golly.  That may be a first.)  I didn't want to end up with "Fish Rat" or "Fastball" as a pet. I knew none of them really cared much about the name anyway (and I was right) so Charlie it was.

Our first night home alone was the perfect bonding time. He got used to his new bed(s), got a tour of the house and backyard, got a few treats, and cuddled up in my bed with me while watched TV.

He was still a little reserved of course so I hadn't seen much of his personality but I did realize quickly that was definitely housebroken and was not afraid of his crate. His barks were actually little huffs (although this has since changed) and he definitely had a bit of Resting Bitch Face going on. 😂 The rescue actually told me that over the phone and it really was true! He also does this thing with his lip where one side curls up kind of like Elvis. We probably should have named him that but didn't realize this was a thing until a little later. So funny.

But man, this little guy is so sweet!

When I started this whole adoption process, I made a little list of the criteria we wanted in a dog this time around. As much as I loved our little Jack Russell Terrorists, I wanted the opposite of them this time. I was looking for under 25lbs, young but not a puppy and not more than 3 or 4, healthy, hypoallergenic or at least mixed with something that was hypoallergenic to reduce the shedding, chill but playful and not loud or yippy. I also wanted something white and fluffy but that wasn't as important.

So looking at Charlie now and comparing him to my list is kind of incredible--especially knowing how many dogs we didn't get that we wanted. I know God's got a lot on his plate right now but I also know that He heard my prayers and sent us a dog that is perfect for us. And we are so thankful.

Ok, getting back on track now. On Tuesday, Craig and the boys left Louisiana around 8am and I was counting down the hours before they would arrive. It was like waiting for Christmas morning!

I was tracking their phones so I'd know when they pulled into the driveway. I wanted to be ready with my phone out. My plan was to let them all walk in and just see Charlie standing there in the living room but it didn't quite go like that.  Instead, Craig walked in first and Charlie started barking so loud!! It was the first time I'd even heard him bark! Craig was shocked (in a good way) and then Mason came up behind him and heard the barking. His face lit up and he said "Did we get a dog?!" and ran into the house.  He was quickly followed up by Matthew who was practically giddy.  I was videoing but couldn't even talk because I was getting choked up. It was the best surprise and I will always remember the looks on their faces!!

Charlie was a little unsure about what was going on though and took off to hide behind the kitchen counter. Matthew started coming in on one side and then Mason started on the other and I had to stop recording because I was scared they were going to freak him out. (I've got this video saved in my CHARLIE highlight bubble on my Instagram profile.)

We got him over to his bed and he laid down while the boys petted him, whipped out their phones, and immediately began texting their friends.

First kisses!

Charlie was NOT a fan of Craig though. And I don't blame him. Craig is a big guy and Charlie is so little so it's probably very intimidating to him but we also think that Charlie may have had some bad experiences with men in the past.  He still barks his head off at Craig anytime Craig walks into the room. I told him to get down low on the floor which definitely helps and we've now worked our way up to him being able to sit in a chair without Charlie yelling at him. haha Although as soon as he stands up, the barking begins again.

You can also tell that Charlie WANTS to like Craig. He'll follow behind him if he goes to the kitchen or bathroom just to see where he went or come sniff at him if he's laying down or hanging a foot off the couch. So we'll get there but it's going to take some time.

I could kiss that face off.

And so could Matthew, I think! Thankfully, Charlie loved the boys instantly and they are just as smitten.

It had started to sprinkle but the boys wanted to take Charlie out back to play anyway and no one really seemed to mind a little rain.

They taught him how to play fetch and he caught on really quickly. He is the funniest little dog! He loves to throw the ball up in the air to himself and then chase it around if no one else will do it for him.

He loves to be outside and doesn't seem to have any desire to dig which is awesome.  He also doesn't shed much at all which is a huge plus!

He hasn't had a single accident in the house and has caught on to how the bells work by the back door.

And did I mention his wicked side eye? 

He's learning how to walk on a leash but the harness I bought him is too big so we're waiting on the new one to arrive before we go on any more. He seemed to like it though and the boys are looking forward to taking him around the neighborhood and showing him off.

Charlie also loves to hang with the boys in the media room while they play all their dumb video games.

Thankfully, he seems ok with all the loud shrieks, squeals, and smells that emanate from this group!

One thing I've noticed is that he rarely naps during the day. Yesterday was the first time I'd seen him actually nap but it was just for a short time. I kind of think he has a major case of FOMO. 😂 He gives off "little brother" vibes a lot. He always wants to be where the action is or where the big boys are and who can nap when there are fun things happening all around you!?! (I mean...I could...)

At night, he sleeps in his crate in the corner of our bedroom. He goes in easily, gets himself comfy, and doesn't make a peep until I wake him up in the morning.  And even then, he likes to take his time waking up before venturing out.  Seriously, friends. He is the perfect dog. (Minus the part about him hating Craig but again...we'll get there.)

He's gotten more and more playful as the days go on too. He loves to play fetch or chase after the boys if they are running around the backyard or the house. He hops and skips like a bunny rabbit sometimes and does this thing where he runs with his nose in the air shaking his head back and forth.

The only naughty behavior we've seen so far is when he tore a vine off my houseplant and tore it to shreds (and maybe ate some of it?). Ugh. I love that plant and I love where it lives but apparently, it can be toxic to dogs so it's going to have to move. I also may have already sent my best friend from childhood (who is a vet) a very late night text asking if I should freak out about the vine. Thankfully, she said no and he may have a little GI upset but will be fine. It is so nice having a vet BFF who is just a (free) text away. 😉

I also caught him coming out of my closet with a bra in his mouth. 🤦‍♀️ And he somehow managed to find an old pair of my slippers and put them BOTH in his bed. He literally had to get one, take it to his bed and then go back for the other.  Mischievous little guy!

But his funniest moment so far happened on the second day we had him. Matthew had gotten a treat for him out of the bag in the pantry and given it to him. Charlie watched Matthew put the bag back on the bottom shelf of the pantry and then Matthew went upstairs. I was sitting on the couch when I heard rustling in the pantry and then watched Charlie come trotting out into the middle of the living room with that bag of treats in his mouth.  He dropped it right in the middle fo the floor and looked up at me like "Gimme more, woman!". I put the treats back in their spot and told the boys to keep the pantry door shut.  A little later, I had to go pick up groceries and when I came back the boys told me they had opened the pantry door to see if he'd do it again and he had.  They put the treats back the second time and tried to hide them behind the paper towels...but still within reaching distance for Charlie.  And then they recorded him as he went hunting for them a third time. He pulled one bag of treats out from behind the paper towels but it wasn't the bag he wanted so he kept digging and found what he was looking for. I'll put the video on Instagram today.  (You can find me @amandanall.) He is such a fun little addition to our family!

We finalized his adoption on Wednesday and he is now officially ours. Our next steps with him will be getting him to love Craig (and not be afraid of all men) and teaching him how to go up and down stairs! I have to carry this dog up and down the stairs right now because he just refuses to try it. I've got some googling in my future. 😂

And a few more pictures for good measure because #prouddogmom.

There's that sassy side-eye again.

If you are thinking of adopting a dog, have adopted a dog or are just curious as to how it all went for us, be sure to come back next week for that post.  We couldn't be more thrilled with how our adoption story ended and I'm excited to fill you in!

As always, feel free to message me on Insta or leave a comment here if you have any questions! 

Happy Friday, friends!



  1. Congratulations! :) So happy you guys found each other!

  2. Charlie is so cute! We adopted our Homer last summer. Thankfully, it was a pretty easy experience once I realized how quickly some pups go! I hopped right on it when I saw his pic. I'm so glad we adopted. I know your family is blessed to have Charlie and he's so blessed to have you all!

    1. I learned a lot during the whole process for sure! Hope I'll be able to share some tips with everyone in my next post about it all! Homer is such a cute name!!

  3. Congrats: he is a cutie!

  4. I love pet adoption stories! He's the cutest, congrats to finding the perfect pup! :)

  5. Oh my gosh, first, I'm so so so happy you gave that sweet guy a home. I'm so sad that people just dump their pets, or worse. Thank you for loving him and giving him a GREAT LIFE. We just rescued 2 dogs (brothers- who are 11 months old.) I couldn't STAND the thought of getting one and leaving the other behind. So we got two. It's a ton of work, because they were badly neglected and verbally abused. But they have come a long long way with a good routine, a quiet house, love and patience. We'll get there. They were TERRIFIED of my husband (because it was more than likely a man who abused them). But they are coming around. I love the updates, so keep them coming. Does he try to run out the door at all? How do you keep him from doing that, if he tries? I'm terrified my dogs will run. We have to take them outside on leashes at all times (abused dogs are flight risks). But they are very bonded to me, and we will just be super careful.

    1. How awesome that y'all got both!! I'm sure they just need time and love! And no, he isn't a runner thank goodness, but my previous two dogs were! We chased them down the street more times than I can count! We never really figured out a great solution other than just squeezing people in the door while we tried to hold them back! 😂

  6. Kinda think Charlie hit the jackpot with your family. He looks so happy and relaxed! Enjoy all the puppy love and nose boops :)

  7. Anonymous1:34 PM

    Thank you for adopting!! Landing with your fam is like winning the doggie lottery- he is one lucky pup. Please keep the pics and updates coming!

    1. Awww thanks!! We are lucky to have found him!!

  8. What a cute new addition to the family!

  9. Charlie is so CUTE! I could kiss his face off too! That side eye had me laughing out loud!

  10. Charlie is a cutipie. I'm very happy that you adopted Charlie. I wish I could meet him.


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