All About Our Rescue Dog Chester

Getting a dog is such a big moment for any family, and it's seriously the biggest commitment. You're literally bringing another life into your home. We've gone back and forth so many times on whether or not we were going to get a dog, and almost have so many different times in the last 8 years, but the timing never really felt right.

We really wanted to get the kids a dog for Christmas this year, and even had a deposit on a golden-doodle that we were going to pick up on Christmas Eve. We had heard so many things about poodles and golden-doodles being such great dogs for kids with special needs, and their so dang cute, we thought for sure whatever we wound up getting was going to be a poodle of some sort.

I was talking to a few friends who had recently gotten poodles/golden-doodles as pets, and they all told me how hard the first year was and how difficult and stressful house training was. One friend even told me that they legitimately were depressed over how difficult the first year was. I'm assuming that this isn't limited to just poodles, and that training a puppy is difficult no matter which breed.

After thinking about how stressful our lives already were with me being in school and working, and Derek working, and having one kid with special needs, and one kid who is very accident prone, adding the stress of puppy training just didn't make sense for us. We got back the deposit money that we had put down on the golden-doodle and started looking for dogs that were already trained.

We looked into service dogs, but they can be an investment of over $20,000, which seemed ludicrously expensive. After thinking about it we came to realize that we wanted more of a family pet than a service dog, so we started looking into getting a dog that was already house trained. An already trained poodle, that wasn't even a service dog still would cost us around $5,000 which we definitely didn't want to spend.

Finally, we got the idea in our head that dogs at the shelter were likely older than a puppy, and would likely have just enough training that we wouldn't feel like we were starting from ground zero. We found what looked like a very cute yellow lab online at a nearby shelter, and decided that was 100% our dog, and took the kids out of school to go and get it Tuesday afternoon.

When we got to the shelter, we quickly learned that the yellow lab was a lot more massive than he appeared to be in the picture, and to be honest,  I was slightly terrified of it. We'd come this far though so when Derek was questioning if this was the dog we really wanted Kyle and I both hesitantly were saying yes, but I definitely did not want to actually bring that dog home. It was just way too big, and too wild.

We looked across the hall and saw a room where the smaller dogs were held, and Derek went in there with the kids while I took the yellow lab back to it's kennel. When I got back, Kinsley was completely enamored with this black little terrier, and even Derek was really into him. Derek had been so picky about breeds this entire process, so I was shocked when he was totally loving on this little dog that looked like the epitome of a scrappy little shelter dog.

Within two minutes we all knew that this dog was meant for our family. We signed on the dotted line, and took him home. Since being home we've noticed that he really is trained pretty well. He's peed a few times in the house, but it was on some of the kids toys and my clothes which was more of an annoyance of him marking his territory than it was him having an accident.

He just loves being around us and is laying at our feet or on a pillow in whatever room we're in. He sleeps through the night in his kennel really well, and totally follows Derek around the house like he's his master. The kids have been so soft and gentle with him, and he loves laying by Kinsley while she plays with her toys in the morning while I get my work done.

If we were going to get a dog, we really couldn't have asked for a better fit for our family. He really is super mellow, chill, and goes with the flow. He's also not hyper at all which we love.

His name is Winchester Newton Flamm. We named him after my seventh great grandfather. We found the name when we were doing genealogy one day before we got married and agreed that it was an awesome dog name, and that if we ever had a dog, that Winchester Newton would certainly be his name.  He's a 1-3-year-old terrier mix which is really all we know about him. But he's perfect for us, and is here to stay.

Be sure to stay up-to-date on all of the latest things in our lives by following along in instagram @thehappyflammily!


  1. So cute! The last puppy we had was almost 8 years ago. And with little kids it wasn't a big deal. She sadly passed away and my kids wanted a new dog. We were given a puppy, and boy did I forget how hard they can be! We ended up giving the puppy back after a few weeks. Sad as that was for my kids, and for me he was such a cute dog, it is so much easier for us to not have a dog. I keep thinking I need to find a puppy/dog for my kids to dog-sit when its owners go out of town.

  2. Awww, Chester is adorable. His full name is pretty impressive, too. Thank you so much for getting a rescue dog. We've always had rescues and they have been wonderful. Congratulations to Chester and congratulations to your family!