Party of 5

We got a dog.

I am trying to write a clever introduction, but that declaration feels so big to me that maybe the fewer words the better. 

When we bought our home in Bellingham (Washington) four years ago, a major draw was that it had a large fenced yard and a dog run. Some of you might remember our sweet girl Cronkite who we had in Spokane. She was my honeymoon gift from J, my foot warmer, my running buddy. We had to say goodbye to her nine years ago, and it's still hard to think about it.

So there we were in 2014 in that house with the yard, ready to be pet parents again. We were saving up for a doodle (labra, golden, whatever), since Cronkite's absence made us realize back in '09 that baby Magpie had had pet allergies all along. Amazing how that skin rash cleared up so quickly! 

But then J comes home one day in the fall of '14 and says he wants to pursue his doctorate degree. At Harvard. 3,000 miles away. A family adventure, he called it.

Okaaaaay. That hadn't been on our life/family/future radar.

Needless to say, J got accepted. Did I mention it was a fellowship? When Harvard wants to pay YOU to study there, you put the house up for sale and you press pause on the doggy adoption. With no regrets, we've spent the past three years in Cambridge, Mass., tossing the softball around Harvard Yard, meeting amazing people from around the world, and earning a doctorate from that hallowed institution. Just one of us did that last part, but sometimes I wear J's cap for fun when I'm scrubbing toilets.

You can read more about our journey to Harvard on the old Penny Carnival site.

We're finally back in Washington in a home with enough space for a pooch after three years in apartments, two years of which were in 700 square feet on the seventh floor. Not pet friendly. Our girls have been waiting four years now for a dog, and last night we brought her home.

Meet Hugsy.


She is 1/4 Australian shepherd and 3/4 standard poodle, so hopefully Magpie's allergies won't be too bad. As I write this, though, Magpie is basically napping with her head in the puppy's crate. Allergy-friendly breeds are put to the test with this animal lover.


As for her name, J's doctoral program was in the Harvard Graduate School of Education. HGSE, or "Hugsy," as the students there affectionately refer to it.

We can already tell that our Hugsy is "wicked smaht." And definitely worth the wait.