Chien was the best family dog. Paul and I got Chien the weekend we got back from our honeymoon, so he started our family long before we had kids. Domi, Tim, Andrew, Hunter and I drove out to almost Iowa to a farm "just to look" at the puppies. I think we were there about a half a minute before we were each picking out which puppy we wanted to bring home. We stopped at a local store to buy different color collars so we could tell Chien and Cooper apart (although we still don't know if the one we put the collar on was the one we picked at the farm)! It has been fun to have brother dogs with Domi - and whenever they got together to play they knew they were brothers and would play differently than they did with other dogs. Chien was 7 weeks old and 7 pounds when we got him.
Chien went on many boat rides, whether the canoe or the big boat.
And always made sure to protect his family. This was a great example that I will never forget - Ben was in this tube and started to float away from the dock. Chien jumped in, swam out to the tube, grabbed the rope, and brought Ben back - all without a word from us! We actually thought Ben was ok (we were swimming in the water by him), but Chien was sure to take care of him!
Always a good sport when the kids would play with him or dress him up.
Or when we would try to make him play like he was a human...I'm pretty sure he did not enjoy going down the slide, but he was a good sport about it at least.
Abbey always gave Chien a lot of love too.
Back at the lake, staying close to his family.
Sleeping with Ben - he didn't usually sleep on Ben's bed, but every now and then Ben would invite him up there.
Our last family picture with Chien taken over Thanksgiving. A good friend of mine from high school, Kelley Peck, actually took this picture and had it made into a Christmas ornament and sent it to us, which was so meaningful to our family, especially now considering he passed before Christmas.
I can't say enough about how much Chien has meant to our family. He started our family and although with each new child he slid further down the totem pole, he never seemed to mind and always welcomed each new member with love and a desire to protect them. The kids have loved having Chien and I could not have asked for a better dog for them - he was always gentle and kind and patient - not once was I ever even slightly worried about having him around them. Some people say that dogs have no souls and therefore do not go to Heaven, but I believe that anyone who has ever had a dog knows that cannot possibly be true. I believe he is running in fields, chasing balls, and swimming all day long now. We love and miss you Chien - thank you for 9.5 wonderful years!