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We’re a Family

by Meghann on May 16, 2012

When I brought Maddie home from the farm in 2009 I was living alone in Orlando. Derek and I were dating at the time, but our relationship was still new and the idea of bringing a puppy home “together” wasn’t even something that crossed our minds. We were still two very independent people and Maddie was my little furball. I was “mom” and Derek was just “Derek” – a strange man who came to visit every once in a while.


I’m sure I’ve mentioned this on here several times, but Maddie is not a fan of strangers, especially male strangers. It took her a while to warm up to Derek. He would only visit every other weekend and the inconsistency threw her little puppy brain off. When he did walk in the door, she would bark and back herself into a corner. It would take a few treats and belly rubs to prove to her that he was not a threat. We even made a rule that Derek was the one to feed her and walk her when ever he visited (knowing he was the one in charge of food, instantly had her warming up to him).


It took some time, and some consistent training, but Maddie ended up falling head over heels with Derek. Sometimes I think she even prefers him to me. Especially when they’re just chilling on the couch. He’s always the one to sneak her a treat when I’m not looking and he’s the one that doesn’t have a problem feeding her scraps right from his plate.


When Maddie and I moved in with Derek last year, there was some definite adjusting in the Maddie department. Maddie semi-rebelled in the move and forgot she was potty trained. Umm… yeah… talk about a way to test a relationship. She also learned to escape from her crate (we’ve since put a stop to thanks to a new lock) and her shedding problem seemed to take over the house.

Hello, Derek – welcome to the joys of dog ownership!


Even after moving in, Maddie was still “mine” (even more so when she was in trouble). Derek was still just “Derek” and I was fine with that. I had no problem taking on all the Maddie responsibilities as my own. I paid for all her vet visits, I paid for all her medicine, I paid for her daycare, and I took the lead when it came to walking her, cleaning up after her, and feeding her. She was my baby.


But, as time went on, I started to see a shift in fur-parenthood. This time it wasn’t Maddie warming up to Derek, but Derek warming up to Maddie. He’d come home from work, give me a kiss, and immediately head to Maddie to rub her belly. They even developed a little routine where Derek calls for Maddie to climb up on the couch before he leaves for work so he can give her a proper good-bye.

And he began to take on more responsibility with Maddie’s needs. Without even asking, he offered to pay half of Maddie’s last (very expensive) stay at doggie camp, he started regularly feeding her and refilling her water bowl when she needed it, and he took her out more and more.

Then, while I was out of town the other week, Derek sent me this photo

imagejpeg_2_14 (1).jpg

with the caption “Thank goodness daddy didn’t abandon me, too!”

It doesn’t sound like much, but I almost cried when I read it. Not because I was sad about leaving Maddie, but because it was the first time he referred to himself as “Daddy” in reference to Maddie. In the three years I’ve had Maddie, this was the first time Derek claimed himself as her fur-parent too.

Since that text message, I’ve heard Derek refer to himself as “Daddy” to Maddie – as in “Who gives you better belly rubs than Daddy?” more than a few times. It’s adorable and makes me smile every time. I’m not even sure if he realizes he does it now, but I’ve definitely taken notice. Like I said it’s the little things.


Maddie just isn’t mine anymore – she’s ours. I’m her fur-mom and Derek is her fur-dad.


Together we’re a family. πŸ™‚

1 CaitlinHTP May 16, 2012 at 2:41 pm


I remember when I saw a similar shift in Kristien, too, with the dogs – which I had bought and paid for all their expenses early in our relationship. It was too sweet.
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2 Krissy @ Shiawase Life May 16, 2012 at 2:42 pm

That’s adorable, Meghann!! πŸ˜€ Y’all are a wonderful family, indeed!
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3 Lisa @ Jogging on Coffee May 16, 2012 at 2:47 pm

That is so incredibly sweet!!
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4 Jenny May 16, 2012 at 2:53 pm

This is the sweetest post! I moved in with my BF, Eric, last June, and while my BF and my dog, Johnny, definitely have a relationship, we’re still in the “I’m Mommy and Eric is just Eric” stage.

Hoping to one day have this same kind of transition. πŸ™‚ Congrats to you and your happy family.

5 Lizzie May 16, 2012 at 2:56 pm

I love this so so much. Cute family!!
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6 Hope @ With A Side Of Hope May 16, 2012 at 3:06 pm

Aw, this is a sweet post πŸ™‚ I can’t wait until my fiance and I own a dog of our own.
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7 Heather May 16, 2012 at 3:06 pm

sappy sap sap sappy happy.
that is me, reading this.
with a big ole smile on my face!

Benson is totally “our” kitten, too. He may have started out as mine, but Nick and Benson are completely BFFs and if ever asked to choose, I have little hope that Benson would willing pick me over Nick in ANY situation. That cat loves that boy so much.
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8 Casey May 16, 2012 at 3:19 pm

This is the sweetest little post. πŸ™‚ I almost cried!

9 Rachel May 16, 2012 at 3:32 pm

Awww! This is so touching! I’ve watched by boyfriend (no husband) and litte dog go through the same transformation you write about. I really do think they have a special relationship now. The dog is like our training child : )
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10 Kathy May 16, 2012 at 3:33 pm

Oh you are so cute….
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11 Anne May 16, 2012 at 3:38 pm

Cutest post ever. You and Derek will make such great parents someday ~

12 Chelsea @ Designs on Dinner May 16, 2012 at 3:41 pm

Oh, I love this post! It’s so nice to be have a pet family, isn’t it?
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13 Christina May 16, 2012 at 3:42 pm

Too cute! I remember having a similar experience with my dog and husband (then boyfriend). I remember the day he called himself daddy to her too…it really does make you fall for him just a little more πŸ™‚

14 Cait's Plate May 16, 2012 at 3:52 pm

Aw, I loved this post!!
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15 Nanci May 16, 2012 at 4:02 pm

Can I just tell you how much I LOVE this post?! So sweet!!! When hubby and I first met, I had my sweet Sammi, a Terrier mix who was not a fan of new people. He had to bribe her with a lot of cheese. When we moved in together and she came with us, it was a HUGE adjustment period. She was not happy about him being in our bed, lol. But they became great buddies and they loved each other so much. He was just as upset as I was when we lost her in 2009. Now we are fur-parents to 2 crazy Aussies, they are our kids and we are one big family. So your post totally made me smile and I love the pictures. Maddie is so cute!
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16 erica May 16, 2012 at 4:13 pm

AWWWWW! this is the sweetest, cutest, post ever! i love it! my eyes even got a teeny bit misty.
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17 Sandy May 16, 2012 at 4:20 pm

What a sweet post! I am an animal lover so it warms my heart when I see good people like you and Derek giving tons of love to their pets! Maddie is a lucky girl!

18 Laura @ My Pink Thumb May 16, 2012 at 4:20 pm

awww that’s really sweet!!! I wish I could say the same for our ‘family’ lol.. my hubby and I have been married for just over a year now and we’ve been living together for 2 years.. he’s still not a fan of my cats!! πŸ˜‰ lol
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19 Maggie May 16, 2012 at 4:25 pm

Adorable post! I also love the family pic πŸ™‚

20 Christina May 16, 2012 at 4:27 pm

This was such a sweet post! It definitely brought tears to my eyes. My boyfriend and I just got a puppy. It was my idea and he finally gave in and said we could. he has taken on the roll of Fur-dad so well!! It has definitely made me fall for him a little more. Especially when I’m getting ready for work and the 2 of them are still cuddling in bed or on the couch. Or when I hear him talking to her!! I just love dogs, even when they are naughty, there isn’t a day that goes by that they don’t make us smile πŸ™‚

21 Katie @ Peace Love & Oats May 16, 2012 at 4:27 pm

That’s so sweet!!!! I love that he really thinks of himself as Maddie’s “Dad” and that she’s not “really your dog.” Ahhh so cute
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22 Talia @ Bite Size Wellness May 16, 2012 at 4:29 pm

Aw! How cute. I have some similar pictures of my husband’s dog who is now mine too. Furry family of love!
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23 Meghan May 16, 2012 at 4:30 pm

This is so sweet! When I first met my husband he has 2 dogs (one since passed) and it didn’t take long for them to warm up to me but eventually we had a big shift in our dynamic as well. It wasn’t just Ed taking the dogs to the vet, I started taking them, and helping pay. Our one dog Odyn ended up becoming a Mama’s boy and if I am gone paces, stands at the door, etc. It is sweet and I love that we adjusted to becoming a family.
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24 jennyv May 16, 2012 at 4:31 pm

This is totally funny to me because my husband and I have a 7 year old German Shepard and my in-laws talk about us as her ‘mom and dad’ and that totally irks me. She’s not my ‘kid’ so I don’t think of us as mom and dad… I sometimes think I’m one of the only pet owners out there that doesn’t go with the mom and dad talk. To each their own!

25 Aundra Weissert @ Fit for Life May 16, 2012 at 4:34 pm

Girl, what a sweet post! Best one I’ve read all day. Tearing up a little over here, not going to lie!

Also, the photo with you and Maddie is adorable. Congratulations on your new little family!!!
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26 abbi May 16, 2012 at 4:35 pm

Awwww…love this!
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27 Gwen May 16, 2012 at 4:35 pm

That’s too stinkin cute.
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28 Jackie @ MomJovi May 16, 2012 at 4:47 pm

Favorite post ever. So stinking sweet I can’t stand it! You’re an adorable family and I’m so happy that all three of you feel that way, too!
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29 pluvk May 16, 2012 at 4:49 pm

This is the sweetest post! I can relate… my husband and I don’t have any children, but we do have a child in the form of a 40 lb. needy dog whom we love to death! It’s definitely a family! πŸ™‚

30 allison @ thesundayflog May 16, 2012 at 4:50 pm

this is very cute. πŸ™‚ steve and i picked out hank together, but didnt actually think we would get him (6 other couples put in an application for him). steve called every single day to prove to them why we deserved him, and surprised me one afternoon when i got home from work. he has always been “ours” and it really does make it feel like we’re a complete family!
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31 Pam May 16, 2012 at 4:55 pm

I love this post! So cute. I went through the exact same thing with my boyfriend πŸ™‚ Love it!

32 Jen May 16, 2012 at 4:58 pm

Yup, I’m crying. Cutest post ever <3

33 Rachel May 16, 2012 at 5:17 pm


34 Meagan @ Managing Meagan May 16, 2012 at 5:22 pm

Awww! That’s the cutest thing I’ve heard all day. I love how boys would NEVER notice stuff like that or even think twice about when they do it, but we (girls) live for this stuff. So. Cute.

35 Army Amy* May 16, 2012 at 5:26 pm

Aww! My husband and I have always been Daddy and Mama to our dog Geronimo. It really does make you feel like a family.*
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36 Reenie May 16, 2012 at 5:27 pm

Ahhhhhhhhh ~ this makes me happy!!! πŸ™‚

37 Kristen @ notsodomesticated May 16, 2012 at 5:48 pm

Love this! I’ll be curious what Derek thinks of this post … sometimes guys (or at least my guy) don’t like us talking about their sweeter sides! πŸ˜‰
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38 Eve May 16, 2012 at 5:51 pm

This is the most adorable post! I cannot WAIT until my boyfriend and I live in a place where we can have fur-babies. It’s pretty much a daily conversation, haha! πŸ™‚
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39 Laura is Undeterrable May 16, 2012 at 6:07 pm

So sweet πŸ™‚ I almost die whenever I hear my husband refer to Biscuit as his little girl. Being a furparent is awesome.
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40 Bill May 16, 2012 at 6:46 pm

I love this post. I have been dating my girlfriend for a little while now and she has two dogs Stormy and Lucky. So I can completely relate to this post. We are still really independent but talking about moving in together soon and although I see her dogs getting used to and starting to trust me, I never though of the fact that I was doing the same and getting used to them.

Thanks this post made me smile =)


41 Broccolihut May 16, 2012 at 6:57 pm

I absolutely loves this post! I love all posts related to Maddie, but this one was so relatable for me. Margot is technically mine, and I still pay for all her vet bills, but Seth has definitely taken over the Daddy role. The way he interacts wih her makes me love him even more πŸ™‚

42 Kristy May 16, 2012 at 7:14 pm

adorable post.

and never ever get tired of seeing Maddie pics. she is so precious.

43 Teacher Girl May 16, 2012 at 7:18 pm

In all my years of reading your blog, this has got to be my favorite post ever. You, Derek, and Maddie make the most adorable family! =)
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44 Angela @ Sleep and Repeat May 16, 2012 at 7:41 pm

This is the sweetest post ever :)!!!
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45 Brita May 16, 2012 at 7:53 pm

So stinkin’ cute! I think you can tell a lot about a guy by the way he treats dogs, clearly Derek’s a winner πŸ™‚
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46 Amy May 16, 2012 at 8:07 pm

I saw a similar shift in my boyfriend when it came to our cat, Harry. It makes me melt when he feeds him or sends me pics when I’m gone. Love it!
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47 Dee May 16, 2012 at 8:35 pm

i LOVE this post, it really is a special feeling. nothing makes me happier than coming home from work and seeing Coco sitting with “Dad”. i love having our little family.
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48 Angela @ Happy Fit Mama May 16, 2012 at 8:42 pm

That’s too cute! My hubs and I didn’t get together with any pets of our own. When we got our first dog as a couple, it really cemented our relationship as “parents.”
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49 Marysol May 16, 2012 at 9:04 pm

So Cute! I got teary eyed! I just got 2 new 9 week old puppies (sisters) they are 1/2 Chihuaua and 1/2 terrier, one looks like a Jack Russell Terrier mix, but the second looks like she is an Australian Shepard mix but both are just so adorable and already apart of the family!

50 melissa (fitnessnyc) May 16, 2012 at 10:47 pm

super cute post! I can’t wait to be a fur-parent.
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51 Madison @ PilatesMakesYouHappy May 16, 2012 at 10:59 pm

What a cute little family! I love it!

52 Natasha @ Moody Girl in Style May 16, 2012 at 11:15 pm

The both of you are super cute! This is a very sweet post!
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53 Dione May 16, 2012 at 11:27 pm

I loved this post! So sweet. πŸ™‚
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54 Amanda May 16, 2012 at 11:49 pm

I love this post!!! Absolutely smiling from ear to ear. What a sweet story πŸ™‚

55 Khushboo Thadani May 17, 2012 at 2:08 am

Such a heartwarming post :)!
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56 Joy May 17, 2012 at 7:50 am

Aww meghann this post made me tear up a bit! There’s nothing like a puppy family of 3

57 Beka May 17, 2012 at 8:41 am

Maddie is TOO cute!!
Mike bought Claire our cat for my Valentine’s day gift this year with the stipulations that I do all the caretaking, cleaning, vet, etc.
However, just like Derek, he is completely smitten and becoming very attached over time. Sometimes even Claire gets kisses before I do in the afternoon and I am totally ok with that haha. He has started feeding her more often and letting me sleep. On a recent run he even mentioned how much he loves our little family. Fur babies definitely make a happy family! πŸ™‚
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58 Christina May 17, 2012 at 9:56 am

I love this post because I can tell it came from your heart. Write more from your heart, your blog will be better for it.

59 Anna-Marie @ Beauty and the Beets May 17, 2012 at 11:12 am

So adorable- I had two “kids: when I moved in with my boyfriend and he liked them but then we got a third furry one and he is just head over heels in love with her now. I rescued her from Universal Studios but she loves her Daddy more… makes my heart just melt to see them together. It has made me see him in a whole new light and it is kinda sexy!! πŸ™‚
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60 Rachel May 17, 2012 at 11:24 am

This post made me feel all warm and fuzzy πŸ™‚

61 Maura @ My Healthy 'Ohana May 17, 2012 at 12:36 pm

What a sweet post! Love the last picture of your little family…you look so happy πŸ™‚
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62 sally kate May 17, 2012 at 5:15 pm

Oh gosh- I think winnie likes Logan more than me now! Heck, Logan may like her more than me too! πŸ™‚

63 Melissa May 17, 2012 at 6:03 pm

SO CUTE. The last photo made me tear up a little, too :’)
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