Meet Oliver!

Hi friends, meet our newest family member Oliver! He is a little rescue puppy who is primarily Blue Heeler with the sweetest eyes, the funniest floppy ears, and a HUGE heart. We welcomed him home with us mid-June and just like that Shannon and I’s little girl gang expanded by one little boy with four paws – and even a March birthday just like us!

Our Oliver Meet & Greet June 2022

When so many changes were going on in our world there was not a lot I had control over. Yes, I was blessed with the ability to make decisions, resources to protect myself and my little lady, and incredible support system…. but the reasons for change were all things I was required to react to, not choices I was given the opportunity to make. But with some time, healing, perspective and some things falling into the positive category – I began to realize the circumstance truly are just part of the story. Yes, I was having to adjust…. but it did not mean the ability to create a life was gone. Fact: Shannon was not having the family life originally planned for her. Fact: When all of this started I needed a lot of help, now maybe not as much, but the support does make our world stronger/better/more consistent. I am able to build a life and it is my job to recognize as many of the details I can choose to influence.

Lot of love at first sight June 2022
June 2022

This realization hit early spring, but I was not in a place to make a lot of changes, so I made myself a deal: July 17, 2022 – my 12 year wedding anniversary – would be when I would start to make plans to build that life. It was enough time to let some scernario’s play out, it was a time of the year that would offer the whole second half of 2022 to utilize and it is a date, despite the pain, that is marked with a lot of importance and this would be an excellent way to honor it. Most of the decisions were hinging on one big one: would it be time to move out on our own? After an official year with my parents, and two having their house as my homebase for reset and recovery throughout baby, transplant and the post-transplant issues – July 2022 would have some answers. My default was “well, its only been a year….” and I was pretty certain we would “just stay” – path of lease resistance, a routine we were used to, and who likes to move?!?! However, as I got closer and closer to the date of July 17, I was making plans to stay, because it is the best and right choice. Yes the help is incredible and the reality is being a single mom – it wouldn’t matter where I went, I would need their help. But an even more important truth: my parents are part of Shannon’s every day world. When you ask where she lives she will tell you with Nana and Grandad. Recently driving through a cute little town I said to her “would you want to live in a house like this one day?” And she instantly responded: “I want to live in a house with Nana and Grandad”. And right now as other figures in Shannon’s world are inconsistent, our family counselor said it was vital she stay in the place with the most consistent number of people.

My newest little love June 2022
His roll with it personality was perfect June 2022

So this got me wondering, what are some choices I could make? Changes that I could select to build a stronger sense of family and to remind Shannon and we are not victim to circumstances, we are building our own world. And it hit me… a dog.

Welcome Home Oliver! June 2022

Growing up our dogs were family members, important part of life experiences and lessons, and the main characters in MANY Heppes family tales. A dog would be a family addition we could add on our own and a focus we can make together. And for my little dog loving lady, a puppy to learn from, share experiences with, and be a part of her childhood will give some bright spots to offset some of the heavier loads her world is facing. Yes…. a dog was going to be a my big summer decision…. but which one?

“Mom, I am the teacher and Oleevrrr is learning” June 2022

If you have been around my corner of the internet before you know my first four legged baby Quinlan was a huge part of my life and held my heart. He is a special dog that gave so much healing, but he was a rescue that came with all sorts of baggage. He has gone with Danny and I have made my peace with that, but I was not prepared to do another rescue that could have a history that was too colorful, it influenced the present. But as I explored breeders… I was shocked by the timeline, price and whole scenario. I thought I was dreaming that we could find the perfect match for us. But my sister Katy had other plans. She has been a hairdresser based primary in Virginia’s horse country for years…. which means a lot of loyal clients (and one in particular) that work in pet rescue. She is such a sweet lady who truly knows puppies and people… the best chance I had for a true matchmaker. Well it happened she had one little pup left from a recent litter that she and her husband had started to fall for… but when she heard our story thought this could be a nice connection.

And fit right in….. July 2022
July 2022

As we started to text, I had to be honest with her…. about it all. My whole life to really understand where I was coming from.. what I was looking for…. and the sort of transition this would be for Shannon. She got it instantly. This pup could be a place for Shannon to not only learn and grow… but have a place to land when life demands unconditional love (and she reminded me…. what I needed too). So I was able to be honest as we prepared for a visit – could we expose this pup to all the nieces and nephews to get a real sense of how he would do with the crazy, loud, and unpredictable? Well lucky this special puppy foster mom agreed on the importance of this exposure…. and was pretty confident this little pup was going to be the right one…

Everybody’s pal! July 2022
And my baby dog July 2022

Well on a Monday afternoon in early June Shannon, Lola, Trey, Madden, my sister Katy and I pulled up and to say it was love at first sight would be the best summary. This little pup came tearing out of the house and literally flew into my lap. You could tell pretty quickly he had a huge heart and so much love it demanded somewhere to go. And yet, it did not go spilling all over the kids either. As Lola and Shannon ran around the land and shrieked and giggled and rolled on the ground he just watched, tail wagging and little ears perched up to take it all in. But he did not go crazy or try to weasel his way into the cousin piles. Nope, he just seemed to enjoy watching them and jumping in when invited. For a puppy, it was CRAZY. Then how he just poured out love and those sweet little bright eyes looked right into my heart and I knew… this was our pup!

He is now one of us!! August 2022

We went through the adoption process.. convinced my parents how sweet and unique he is (they did not believe me much… mostly wanted to support my reasons…. and have been pleasantly surprised how good he has been!!), and then played the name game. Shannon liked “Spot”. We read a lot of Spot books and watched the show … I was just not convinced we would still like it when Shannon is not so tiny. So we tried Spot’s dad’s name: Sam or Sammy. But still not a slam dunk. And all I could think of those sweet, yet sad orphan eyes, and it hit me: Oliver. So I did some google searches and realized it is a reference to “peace” in the bible with the concept of offering an olive branch. Peace… exactly what our life has been looking for… an olive branch to make peace with our present. That was it… we were sold and Oliver has been with us for several months now!

Our gang! August 2022
Oliver Bessette (Shannon wants his middle name to be Shannon after her, since her middle name is after me) August 2022
It was a good summer adding our guy! September 2022

He and Shannon are a hoot. And when it is just us home, he is the perfect stress reliever with so much walking or reminder that life has moments of joy, even in the muck. Now for Shannon she has LOVED being able to be in charge: she recently told me she is the teacher and Oliver is the student. He has been quite the fun addition and I am so grateful for the family sense we are getting just with his new role in our world.

Willing her to wake up and play August 2022

Thank you so much for reading and remember to make it a great day!

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