After almost two years, the realities of the empty nest were finally sinking in. Most of the time, it actually felt normal. Our days had developed a familiar, calm rhythm that was comfortable, yet predictable. Undeniably, life was good. But we couldn’t escape that nagging feeling that there was something was missing.

After hours of discussion we did the only thing that two rational adults could think of given the circumstances. Once we agreed, we were totally committed and there was no turning back. So we couldn’t wait to call The Boys to share the BIG news.

“We have an announcement!” I told them. “You’re not going to believe it!” I could hear the eye-rolling 1,500 miles away. “Remember that baby sister you both always wanted?” I continued. “Well she’s here!”

After a few moments of confused and stunned silence, Younger Boy finally spoke. “This IS an April Fool’s joke, right?” Older Boy added, “Please say you’re lying, mom.”

“You HAVE to see her,” I said while attempting to focus the camera on her face. There was a pause as they took in the reality of what we had done. Finally, Older Boy spoke. “She’s so ugly she’s cute.”

That’s because our girl, and their new baby sister, is a 7-month-old Boston terrier.

Because, of course, we have completely lost our minds.

Our diminutive pup, known to the world as Hazel, stole our hearts from the moment we first saw this bug-eyed beauty who needed a new forever home. This 17-pound force of nature has the speed and intensity of a hurricane. My tiny, category-5 ball of fur wants to party all the time — and The Husband and I are along for the ride in the eye of the fur storm.

And we are totally smitten.

Our 9-year-old English Shepherd, not so much. Sweet Leo, the ever-tolerant soul, was pretty content with his current starring role as the solo dog-in-chief of Casa Malloy. But Leo should recall the mayhem he inflicted on his two older, four-legged brothers when he was the new kid on the block. Besides hanging out with his canine siblings, Leo was always in the company of The Boys and their perpetual squad of friends at the homestead. After they left for college, it was clear that he missed his ever-present sidekicks and constant activity. But I think he had finally determined that getting all the attention, treats, and never-ending walks was a pretty good gig.

But I’m a firm believer that change is good — especially if it comes with four legs, fur and a wagging tail.

Coming from a family of dog lovers, I can’t recall a time in my life when I didn’t have a pooch by my side. One pup is essential for my day-to-day existence. But it’s been my experience that when it comes to dogs, more is better. So why not take the opportunity to double the fun in our far-too-sedate house?

Even if the new, amped-up energy level makes it feel like we’re living under a strobe light.

Because having a tiny ball of unbridled enthusiasm and perpetual activity under our roof has reduced me to the same state of Toddler Brain as when The Boys were youngsters. Hurricane Hazel has one speed that never falls below gale force until she passes out at night from total exhaustion. Since she arrived, The Husband and I do too.

Hazel greets the day with a level of joy that is positively contagious. And with her in my world, I can’t help but do the same.

Hurricane Hazel helped Denise Malloy write this column with her creative input at the keyboard. Both of them can be reached at