Each of us have days that we remember as being extremely influential in your life. It may be the day you graduated college or got married. For others, like Charlene and I, one of the most memorable days may be when you met your best friend. We met ours on Father's day 2013. You may be wondering what this has to do with adventures, well we haven't had a dull day since. So in that regard, I consider that day the start of great adventure for all of us.
Charlene shipped off to Air Force boot camp in October 2012 and that combined with her training took up 8 months of our first year of marriage. While she was away, I was at home working and trying to pass the time until she came back. During this time and our talks, we decided that we wanted to expand our family, not by having children but by adopting a puppy. We saw it as a great opportunity, as newlyweds, to see how well we do caring for something. Together we agreed to move forward but we would wait until Charlene got back home. As June drew closer, I began scouting out puppies for sale. We decided on a labrador retriever because they are smart, loyal, kind and playful. We also wanted a dog big enough to follow us on hikes, backpacking trips and other adventures. After agreeing that a male black lab was the best option, I narrowed my search to labs. Eventually, I found a classifieds article for purebred lab puppies at a decent price so I paid the seller a visit.
When I arrived at the seller's house, I was introduced to the litter. A colorful mix of puppies were all laying together. I was notified that all were spoken for except for one last black one, a little boy. The seller lifted him out and let me hold him. He was so little and only 5 weeks old yet cognitive enough to know I was new. He sniffed me as I held him then tried to get down. We let him down to run around the backyard. It was during this time that I met his parents, a chocolate and a yellow lab. The father was around 85 lbs and the mother close to 65. Both were in great health with no problems at 8-9 years of age which was a great sign for little puppy. The seller informed me that the puppy was from the mom's fourth and final litter. This is good to hear because I can rest easy knowing that the mother wasn't overbred in the name of a profit. After saying goodbye to little puppy, I let the seller know I would check with Charlene.
I drove to a nearby gas station and called Charlene up. I let her know what I saw and sent her picture I took. We decided we would take him. I pulled out a deposit and drove back to lay some money down on him. The seller let me know that he could go at 7 weeks, two weeks away. I thanked her and headed home. 13 days later, I picked Charlene up from the airport. The next day, we headed to go pick up our new pup and we couldn't be more excited.
Arriving, Charlene was finally able to meet him for the first time. He wasn't much bigger than he was two weeks ago but he definitely was starting to show some of his personality. He was so funny and we played with him while the seller gathered his papers. I paid her the rest of his price and he came with a little blanket and a bag of puppy food. After a few minutes of talking and getting some beginner's advice, we loaded up into the Jeep. Charlene sat with him on her lap with his blanket spread underneath him. It was somewhere in the middle of our drive back home when our new little precious puppy proceeded to empty both his bowels and bladder on his blanket and the seatbelt. We laughed it off because while we expected this, we didn't expect it to happen in the first half-hour! We got home and took him inside our small apartment. He explored and sniffed around. Charlene got a bath going for him while I cleaned the Jeep of any puppy presents. When I was done, I came back inside and Charlene was drying off our new bundle of joy. When he was all clean, we sat down with him on the tile and told him his name would be Camber. Camber is the angle a vehicle's tire has in relation to the axle and the ground. Charlene wouldn't let me name him Jeep so we settled on a Camber together.
We played with Camber for a while and soon he was tired and laid down on the tile. We moved him to the kitchen and blocked off the exit in case he had another accident. We let him take a nap and when Cam woke back up, it was time to go get some basic supplies. Driving to Petsmart, Camber sat on Charlene's lap again but didn't make a mess. I guess he was either empty or not scared anymore. She rolled down the window and he experienced the car window for the first time, and has had a love affair ever since. We pulled in and I took the opportunity to get a few pictures of our new boy. Camber got to sit in the cart while we wheeled him inside the store. This was his first time experiencing the different smells of other pets and people and he handled it all very well. As expected, he was constantly rushed by kids wanting to pet the puppy and while I think he liked it at first, he quickly got anxious so we had to limit the people hovering over him. We got him all the basic supplies and a massive kennel since we only wanted to buy one for him. After checking out, we headed back home for the night. Camber was tired from his busy first day with us and we were tired too and had work in the morning. I attempted to limit his kennel in half so he would be have small space to sleep and won't make a mess where he slept. Placing a cardboard wall was what I assumed would be enough to keep Cam to one side. We put him in the kennel now sitting at the foot of our bed with a new blanket and got in our bed for the night. Our sleep didn't last long.
Charlene and I were awoken to our new pup just crying up a storm. We assumed it was because he was alone for the first time in his short two month life. After being used to sleeping with his brothers and sisters, a dark kennel to himself was probably very unsettling. We spoke to let him know we were there and told him to stop crying. He quit crying for a few hours at a time but would continue to wake us up a few times throughout the night. The next morning, we fed him and took him outside. The little guy eventually did his business. We placed him in his kennel and left for work. We returned to a crying pup again and we felt bad not knowing how long he had been crying. We pulled him out and let him know we were there and decided to take him on a walk. Camber was happy to get outside and loved the grass. After tickling him and playing with sticks, I took him by his leash while Charlene took some pictures. I tried to show him that he needs to stay to my side but Cam kept weaving through my legs as I walked, tripping me up. It was the funniest thing, he just wanted to be a lot closer to me! After some time outside, we went inside for the night. Camber ate and hung out in the kitchen again, falling asleep on the rug while Charlene and I enjoyed our dinner.
We agreed that it was so much more fun with a third member of our family, especially since he was so cute. Bedtime came again and I attempted putting him in his kennel. Right on cue, Camber began crying but stopped for a good amount of time. At around 3 AM, he began crying again so I took him out and into the bathroom where I sat with him to allow Charlene to have some peace and quiet. Now that he was with me, Camber laid quietly with his head on my lap and I pet him while he slept. I eventually fell asleep sitting up with him on the bathroom floor. The next morning, we put him in his kennel to leave for work. Upon coming home to a crying dog again, I discovered that the cardboard wall was completely moved and Camber made the newly found space his toilet. That night, Charlene and I tried something new and placed him in the bathroom then went to bed. Much to our surprise, he didn't make a peep and slept throughout the night without making any messes. We had discovered the trick to a full night's sleep.
Over the next few months, Charlene and I tried to take Camber everywhere we went and tried to socialize him as much as possible. It was very quick that we came to love our new life with our new friend. From that day onward, we would never have a dull moment. Camber always provided something to laugh at and would constantly bring joy to our lives. It was a blast introducing him to new things like lemons and balloons. His reactions would never fail to brighten up our day. We quickly discovered his quirks and habits and soon he found his voice too. We watched him grow one body part at a time it seemed, at times looking like a deer with his long legs and normal body. Over this time, we experienced the "teenage" Camber, full of rebellion and disobedience. After some training and obedience work, and time, he has matured a lot and turned into the perfect companion for us. Camber always has the energy to go for a walk or run and loves to go on hikes and camping trips yet will lay around and be lazy with us. He truly is just like us and is one of the happiest dogs I have ever seen. In the future, you will see that he joins us for a lot of adventures and he may love the great outdoors more than we do! He is definitely our best friend and we don't know what we would do without him. It has been a great 3 years with Camber and I know that we have many more fun years ahead.