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“Don’t name them,” my husband said. “You’ll get too attached.” Oops… Of course, I named our “Murray Big 10” puppies...and of course, I have become too attached.

This is the weekend that six of our 10 Golden Retriever puppies go to their new families, and I am spending as much time cuddling with them as possible before they leave. I’ll be saying goodbye to Porkchop, Toblerone (Toby), Wookie, Mallory, Honey, and Fiona. Pinky Tuscadero, Rizzo and Finn are still waiting for their forever families, and Tess the 10th will stay here with us.

When looking at the list of names, even I wonder how we came up with them. How does anyone come up with a name for their babies...human or otherwise? They seem to just “fit.” And yes, once a name has been given, it IS indeed more difficult to NOT become attached.

How could I be immune to 20 little eyes greeting me each morning? Ten tails wagging so much that it’s a wonder the pups don’t take flight; ten furry little bundles running over to stand on their hind legs to reach me more easily, and 10 wet little tongues giving me kisses all over my arms as I reach into the big puppy kennel to greet “my babies.” This – this – is how I start my days and this – this – will soon come to a screeching halt.

Of course, we’ll still have Tess the 10th (and the other three puppies until they are soon sold), but it will never be the same as seeing the Big 10 so ecstatic to see me. It is still as overwhelmingly awesome to me as it was when I first met them a little over seven weeks ago. I understand when people walk into our puppy room and almost feel the need to cry as seeing this many perfect puppies at once about takes their breath away. I get it. I have been breathless for the past seven weeks.

I’ve also been a little obsessed. This is my first time with puppies, so I treasure every moment. I also capture those moments for posterity, and I’ve filled my iPhone and camera up with pictures and puppy videos galore, posting probably way too many of my collection on my Facebook page.

At first, my mom and sister gave me grief about my new posting habits. They said a little was nice, but I was kind of overdoing it. Did I listen? Well, I love them dearly, as I do my husband, but I’m not a good listener when my heart’s desire overcomes me. I post like a maniac, sharing perhaps too much of the puppies’ lives. I figure there might be another soul like me out there who has never experienced 10 puppies at once, and I want to share in the delight.

Truth be told, I’m also doing this for me. I have a need to capture moments and tell stories. Anyone who knows me at all should know that by now. Just as a mother takes care of her babies and captures some photos for the baby book, I am capturing moments of my canine babies.

People have expressed their concern over how I will handle letting go of our puppies. Some have told me to record my reaction in a video to share. Hmm… I don’t know if the world is ready to see that. I have little meltdowns each day when I think about the short time I have left with all 10 puppies, and I captured one of those “ugly cries” last week. I posted it on my page until my oldest son wisely advised me to delete it. “It’s not all about you,” he said, and “People aren’t going to want to see that.”

Who knows? Maybe someday I may post “the hidden videos in the vault.”

For now, I will cuddle my Murray Big 10, and capture those memories in my heart. Goodbye, puppies. You have added more to my life than I could have ever hoped to receive.

Michelle Sprout Murray is a freelance writer who lives in Mason City with her family. She may be reached at queenmom@mchsi.com or michelle.murray@mail.waldenu.edu.

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