I didn’t expect that we’d adopt another dog so quickly after losing Abby but Tom had visited the shelter and asked me to go as well. I initially balked but ultimately decided to do it and long story short, I walked into the room with the puppies and found this little 7-pound ball of fluff was giving me a very serious stare from inside her crate. While the other puppies were yapping and jumping and spinning in frenzied circles, this girl was pushed up against the grate, eyeballing me with a look that I translated as, “Do you see what I have to put up with? It’s loud, it’s ridiculous. Can we just go??” And so we did.

Her grown-up demeanor had instantly implanted the name Alice in my mind when I first saw her, but as soon as we were playing on the floor it was obvious she was a happy, silly little pupper girl after all… and thus Alice became Allie. We don’t know where exactly she came from but she’d been found a week prior in a box on the side of the highway with two litter mates and brought in to the shelter by a good Samaritan – probably just in time. She had giardia and worms, was still pretty filthy despite repeated washings, and had been dehydrated from baking in the hot September sun, but she seemed otherwise healthy and had even started eating solid food so she’d been released for adoption. And while I wasn’t at all sure I could take care of another dog so soon, it was obvious to me that she belonged with us as much as I didn’t want to admit it to myself.

Once home we started her on a basic training regimen that began with teaching her to follow us around outside – first the yard, then around the open space adjacent. Before the end of her first week with us she was bounding down real trails, albeit with lots of breaks for rest and chewing on pine cones and sticks, and at 9 weeks old she did her first mile with us though again, we enforced breaks and playtime since she was so little. We also started her training to be a brewery dog on her second day in the family, teaching her the boundaries of the leash and how to be around people. We hadn’t intended on teaching her anything about beer but she did that all on her own when she dove into my IPA as she was sitting on my lap. It was obvious she was in fact meant to be my dog.

Her first month with us she doubled in size and tripled her hiking capacity; it was around that time we stopped increasing her mileage since she was growing so fast, though her high-energy mostly translated into increased play and running around the house. She also developed an affinity for climbing on logs and tree stumps as she gained confidence and coordination. And in her third and fourth months we discovered that she loved playing (endlessly) with our friends’ dogs and even a friend’s cat – she really has the sweetest temperament. She was an extremely happy, social little girl in her puppyhood and still is – though she’s not little these days. We’ve been together almost a full year now and I can say without reservation that she has been nothing but pure joy, and a true lifesaver to boot.

And now, since you’ll be reading plenty of Allie stories in coming years, I present you with puppy spam from her first few months.