We found Riesling at an Amish farm on the edge of Ohio, and brought her home early last September, just in time for the Autumn chill. Just around that same time, my daughter in Colorado was deciding that she had taken on too much in the the dog she'd enthusiastically inherited from a friend several months earlier. She conveyed this to me on numerous occasions while she breathlessly chased the dog through the neighborhood or hurriedly swept the fur from the kitchen floor before the baby crawled through it again. So just about the time Riesling was in, Miya was out, and five year old Mackenzie was sad. Thus, Riesling became her dog (and her baby brother's) -- the one that stayed at Grandmommy and Poppa's -- and she is registered as Mackenzie's Amish Riesling.
On the subject of grandchildren, they are the second reason that we decided to bring another Boxer home. If you're not familiar with the breed, allow me to take an aside here and illustrate how truly remarkable these dogs are. On the occasion of his first meeting with my grandson, I fell madly in love with Merlot all over again. Levi was about 8 months old when my daughter brought him to Michigan for a visit. She sat him down on the living room floor to play with some rubber cars and I was wary. The last time the babies had come to Michigan, Merlot had been a gamboling, oversized puppy under the misconception that Mackenzie was a fellow puppy creature, and in his attempts to play with her, he kept knocking into her and knocking her over. I had been impatient and cross with him. Levi had been a newborn and we never put him down around the dog. On this second occasion, Merlot had matured, although he still very much wanted to play (Boxers never outgrow puppy play). Levi sat with his cars all around him, and Merlot approached tentatively. I was ready to jump in, but held back to see what he would do. It was magical, almost ethereal, that boy and his dog moment that I witnessed. Merlot first sat down near him, an unmistakable curiosity for the boy, and yearning to share the cars, but with the calmest reserve I had witnessed from this typically quivering bundle of energy. He moved closer, wanting those cars, looking into the boy's eyes. He lay down, snout in paws, stars in his doggy eyes, but never touched a car, although his eyes continued to scan the array of them surrounding the baby on the floor. He moved closer, to Levi's obvious delight, who patted his snout with both hands and laughed. And then, Levi very deliberately and thoughtfully picked up a red car and and held it out. Merlot opened his mouth, and Levi's little hand disappeared out of sight for just the few seconds it took to place that car on Merlot's big, lolling tongue. And they both laughed. I swear. It gets better. After they went home, we discovered that Levi had left one of his cars behind . . . the red one. We placed it on the book shelf in our living room to remember to send it back, and when Merlot discovered it, he wanted that car. He wiggled his butt. He pleaded with his eyes. He whined. Incessantly. Allow me to digress again and tell you that there are only two toys that Merlot has ever not destroyed, given the opportunity and a sufficient amount of time (Boxers are aggressive chewers). One was a little stuffed purple Barney dinosaur given to him by our friends Frank and Windy when he was a puppy, and the other is that little red car that my grandson shared with him, and that we finally relented to give him. If you've ever doubted it, dogs love. Boxers remember and they love deep and true. I'm not exactly sure if it was Frank or Windy that Merlot fell in love with, but Levi definitely has Merlot's heart, and they both have mine.