I’m pretty sure people thought we were crazy when we adopted Molly as an 8-week-old pup with a one-year-old daughter. Yes, it was crazy and a puppy is harder than a one-year-old (although, not harder than a 2-year-old). It was like having two toddlers only one didn't wear a diaper. We always wanted a dog since we’re die hard animal lovers, but we assumed we’d wait until Josh was out of school and we had a house with a yard. Fast forward to two years ago on December 1, 2014. I was nursing Madelyn in bed around 3 AM when there was a loud noise in our living room. It sounded like someone had tripped over Madelyn’s bouncer. The noise woke up Josh and as his eyes met mine he asked what that was. I shrugged my shoulders and the very next second our bedroom door opened and a head poked through. Josh pressed his finger to his lips, telling me to pretend I was sleeping. I was half sitting up but I slouched down as much as possible and held onto Madelyn so hard that I kept worrying I’d smother my 6-month-old baby. We were terrified and we didn’t care what he took as long as this person left us and our baby alone.
We didn’t have a knife or a gun or anything to protect ourselves with, so if this person had a weapon then we’d be useless. I kept thinking about those horror stories of families being murdered and the young baby is alive and alone for days until the bodies are discovered. I remember shaking so much and being freezing cold, afraid to close my eyes, yet afraid to open them. Of course we were at the time binge watching Criminal Minds which is all about serial killers. Big mistake there, and haven’t watched an episode since.
After maybe a half an hour of not hearing anything Josh grabbed his phone off the floor and called 911, speaking under the covers. The police arrived and told us that one key could work for multiple apartments in a big building and that the person was either one, really drunk and came in by accident, then ran out the moment they realized this wasn’t their home. Or two, they were trying to see which apartments would open for their key and were going to steal stuff to make some money before the holidays. Either way we felt so violated. Your home is the one place you’re supposed to feel safe, and suddenly we felt less safe in there than the (un)Safeway a block away that makes you wonder if you’ve contracted herpes every time you go in. Plus whoever the person was obviously lived in our apartment complex so every neighbor I saw I wondered if that was them, or if they would come back.
Every night after that we picked up our kitchen table and placed it in front of our front door, and then we barricaded ourselves and Madelyn in our bedroom, by moving our dresser in front of the door. We didn’t sleep for weeks, probably even months until we finally moved almost 4 months later. The fact that we had a baby made it a million times worse, all I kept thinking about was someone sneaking into our apartment and taking Madelyn.
For the sake of our sanity and safety we knew we either needed to buy a gun, or a dog. We looked at guns, and came really close to buying one. But the thought of having a gun in the same house as a toddler made us uncomfortable. So we thought some more and concluded that a home intruder doesn’t know if you have a gun so they’ll still come in, but if you have a dog barking then they won’t even try, it's the perfect alarm system.
Then began our search. At first I wanted a golden retriever, they’re so pretty and friendly. But we really wanted a dog that was not only good with kids, but was also known for protecting their owners. A dog that if someone broke in, it would actually do something and not just lick the intruder and be defenseless. We wanted a dog that would make us feel safe again.
Josh first brought up the boxer breed. Boxers are known for loving kids and being very loyal and gentle with them, but they would die defending their family. Plus they look pretty badass, no one’s going to mug you if you’re walking your 60 lbs of pure muscle boxer.
I looked more into the breed and read lots of stories online from boxer owners and this one in particular sold me on the breed. A guy told a story about his family’s boxer that was so kind and gentle, they assumed if someone ever broke in that the dog would be indifferent and probably lick them. But one night a man had broken into his little sister’s room. The boxer heard the man and busted through the door, waking up the rest of the family. After positioning himself in front of the young girl in her bed, he clamped onto the intruders leg and didn’t let go until the police got there, even though the man kept repeatedly hitting and kicking the dog.
Pretty much the next day we found Molly’s liter and had a deposit down for a female. We requested the most cuddly and affectionate of the puppies, and that is most definitely the puppy we got. Molly girl spoons me every night with her little paws wrapped around me and basically every place I sit she sits in my lap.
Molly is big and has a lot of energy (the one downside to boxers) and she sometimes knocks Madelyn down when she gets really excited, but she is so protective and gentle with Madelyn. She knows Madelyn is a baby and it’s her job to protect her. Whenever Madelyn is crying and throwing a tantrum Molly will continually lick her, it pisses Madelyn off but it’s adorable. She is so patient with Madelyn, and although Molly can be really crazy, she is such a good dog.
A few months ago I really wanted some ice cream late at night and since I'm a strong independent woman I told Josh I would get it for myself. Since it was dark and scary outside I brought Molly with me. There was a man on the sidewalk that kept staggering from side to side, like he was really intoxicated. Molly immediately saw him, squared her shoulders, stood directly in front of me and this terrifying deep bark came out of her mouth. I’ve never seen her act so scary, and honestly, even I was intimidated. As he walked by she walked alongside him to position herself between us and not once did she stop barking. After that I knew that girl would do anything for us, and we feel so much safer with her.
So that’s why we made the crazy decision to adopt not only a dog while we live in an apartment, but a big dog, whose breed is known for having excessive energy. But when you adopt a dog, you adapt. We take Molly on all of our hikes and walks, we take her to the dog park and we occasionally watch other dogs so she has a playmate. Now I can't imagine life without her, she's a part of our family. And you know what, I wouldn’t trade her for anything. I love that Molly girl, even her "Molcifer" side.
If anyone is thinking about adopting a dog or deciding on a breed then email me ("Contact" tab on the top of the page). When it comes to dogs/puppies with toddlers I feel I've become a bit of an expert. :) And of course if there's more interest in this topic I can do another post in more detail on how we chose a breed, and what our schedule/life was like when I had a baby and a puppy.