I’m two months into what might be the greatest adventure yet – life with Basil.

Dog on green fluffy bed.

I didn’t intend to take so long to introduce Fork in the Kitchen’s newest member. It’s just that there’s something sweet about enjoying the newness on your own before opening it up to the world, which is exactly what I’ve been doing — enjoying every minute of the sweetness, the sassiness, and even the wild puppy zoomies.

I’m excited to introduce her to you and hope that documenting these little moments gives me something to look back on down the road—a way to remember just how tiny she was, how fast she was growing, and even those really hard moments. It turns out that having a puppy is a lot of work and emotional labor. Ha—the things they tell you, but you don’t know until you know.

Australian Labradoodle

Given my allergies, I needed a hypoallergenic dog. I fell in love with Australian Labradoodles. They are a multi-generational breed of Labrador Retrievers, Cocker Spaniels, and Poodles, bred for their temperament to be seeing-eye and therapy dogs. So, I began researching to find an ethical breeder.

Long story short, eventually, it was time to choose my puppy from a litter of 8 (!). Like a cliche rom-com movie, it was love at first sight when she was just a few weeks old. From that moment on, I eagerly awaited the day I got to bring her home.

Bringing Her Home

I was home for 36 hours after spending three weeks in Australia and New Zealand. After a sleepless night (thanks, jet lag and excitement), my mom and I got on the road early to drive to Wisconsin and get my girl!

Sunrise and moon set in mirror.

We watched the sunrise and the moon set. We ate banana bread and drank (lots) of coffee. And we talked and talked—mostly about how I couldn’t believe the day was here. I’d have a puppy in my arms in just a few short hours, and life would forever be changed.

After a quick (but quite delicious) Mexican lunch, it was finally time. When we arrived at the house, the anticipation was almost unbearable. My heart was in a puddle the second I saw her. She nuzzled right on my shoulder—the first of many of what would become our thing. We snuggled the entire drive home, and life hasn’t been the same since.

Woman holding puppy on shoulder.

The drive home was the best five-hour car ride I’ve ever had. My cheeks hurt from smiling, my heart was so full, and I was so in love. Basil snuggled right on it, and in between naps, her puppy curiosity was in full bloom.

Life, Reimagined

Oh my! I realized life as I knew it would cease to exist, but I don’t think I had any idea just how wonderful it could be. Watching Basil explore and learn new things daily has been a joy. Her spunky, sweet self brings a smile to my face…constantly?

Basil’s little whimper is my new wake-up call, and morning snuggles are the only way I want to start the day now. I hope she never stops jumping into my lap to play. And if I’m standing instead, the way she still leaps in the air for me to catch her (and I always do ;)).

And I hope my nights will always end with a shoulder nuzzle and slow dance, just like when we met.

There’s so much to love about this little floof. Words can’t even express the pure joy she’s brought to my life and the great healing she’s brought after a year of grief and transformation. Through the seasons of life, this is my favorite so far.

That being said, I hope you’ll enjoy the Basil updates every so often between recipes—because she’s just too darn sweet not to share with you!