The very first day we brought him home, we took him down to the beach. Just to, y'know, see if he'd like it. To test out the proverbial (and literal) waters, as it were.
He went right in and never looked back.
I'll never forget his golden little tushy bobbing up and down in the water, or the way he'd stretch his chin up extra far to make sure he didn't go under.
When he finally got out, we wrapped him up in a towel and took a picture. And we felt like a family. (Those of you with actual human children, can feel free to go ahead and roll your eyes! :)) But in that moment I remember thinking: I just didn't know it was possible for one dog to change our lives so much.
The past few weeks, we've been taking Cooper down to the water for lots of swims. And he still goes right in. That golden tush still bobs up and down. And he still stretches his chin up as far as he can as he paddles through the water. Sometimes I'll just sit and watch them together, Justin & Cooper-my boys- Justin throwing sticks and Cooper racing out to get them. Where he will promptly drop them about two feet shy of dry land. And Justin will have to go and find another one. They are my whole world right there. And for just a second, I'll close my eyes and try to burn into my memory what the sun and the wind and salt air felt like. What this exact moment in our lives felt like. Because for just that moment, everything is as it should be.
Eventually we'll finally convince Cooper to come back out of the water. And we still wrap him in a towel. Only now, it takes a few of them. And if it were left up to him, he would much rather just roll on our couch. But when I look at him, I still see that puppy face. And it takes me back to that very first day.
So I decided to take a picture. In honor of the dog, who made us a family.