Princess Pippa - All in the Family
Princess Pippa - All in the Family
By November 2017, Victoria and I were nine months into our new lives as desert dwellers and were finally beginning to get a bit more settled, juggling work, home life and doggie duties, such as making sure our pup Purdey had daily social time with his “pack” of canine pals.
We had worked out a nice little routine. Or so we thought…
If you’ve been following this blog – or if you know us personally – it’s probably quite apparent that we aren’t exactly “routine” kind of people. In fact, the general rule of thumb in the James household is: “The status quo is made to be broken…or better yet, smashed to bits.”
And that’s when Princess Pippa made her royal debut.
We had actually been thinking that Purdey might fancy having a companion at home. A furry friend to hang out with when we were putting in long hours meeting with clients and running the showroom. So, Victoria started looking online for another walking carpet (aka, Korthals Griffon) to join the family. After several calls, she spoke to a gentleman in Cottonwood, AZ who had a female that he wanted to adopt out. When she asked the age of the dog, he said, “Five.” Being that Purdey was six, a five-year old sounded absolutely perfect. So, that weekend, we packed up our boy and drove to meet the mystery hound.
As soon as we arrived, Pippa (then called Maddy), came trotting out and instantly won us over with her dazzlingly crooked smile that somehow managed to consist of both an over and an underbite. And Purdey didn’t seem to have any objections. However, there was one thing we noticed. Female Griffons are generally smaller than males, but Pippa seemed more petite than usual for an adult dog.
“You said she was five, correct?” Victoria asked.
The man nodded. “Yep. Five months.”
We both stared at him, wondering how he could have possibly thought we knew that “five” meant months, not years. But before we could say anything more, he handed us a leash and suggested we take Pippa for a walk.
As we strolled, I began to assess the situation. Being the decisive, hard-nosed businessman that I am, I took a very calculated view of things. Weighed the pros and cons of bringing home a wild, unruly, not-likely-potty trained puppy. And after an intense, intellectual evaluation, I looked Victoria squarely in the eye and said, “I don’t know, love. It’s up to you.”
So, we escorted the princess to her carriage and drove off, wondering all the way home if we had lost our minds. A puppy that sees the house as one big chew toy + us working 18-hour days = sheer lunacy.
But as it turned out, what looked like the absolute wrong timing for Pippa couldn’t have been more right.
Even though we loved our business and were excited about seeing it grow, the truth is, we had lost our balance. Because the showroom was in a high-traffic area, we were very much tied to retail hours, which had us there every night and on the weekends. Bringing Pippa into the mix forced us to reprioritise in order to spend more time at home helping her get acclimated (and to realise that pooping outside – not on the area rug – was a wonderful thing). And that paid off in a number of ways…
Victoria was able to spend more time in her home studio, reconnecting with the artwork that had been put to the side because of the demands of the storefront. We took more walks with Pippa and Purdey, which gave us time to think. Not just about numbers and profit margins, but what we really wanted to gain from our work. And perhaps most importantly, to remember that it was more than just the business that brought us to Arizona. It was the love of the desert and the freedom and fluidity of life in the Wild West, where unexpected turns often morph into beautiful serendipities.
And if you’ll excuse me, I must end this post here because a certain “serendipity” with a lopsided smile is demanding my full attention (and likely a handful of treats, as well). Victoria says Pippa is a “Daddy’s girl”…but I beg to differ. The pup simply has excellent taste in humans.