It only took four long legs and two giant ears to put a smile back on my husband’s face.

We didn’t visit Mickey Mouse at Disney World; we welcomed a new dog to our life.

It’s only been weeks since Sowebo passed away, and I still start to call her name and have this feeling that she is going to walk up the front steps with her tongue hanging out any day now.

When she died, we struggled over when to find a new dog. My husband was most worried about replacing her too fast. I was concerned about the responsibility of a chewing, hopping, growing puppy.

Those very valid fears were washed away as soon as we saw a tiny face with gorgeous markings.

Knowing that I had been wanting a third dog, I had begun checking out online listings sooner than my husband could have handled.

It is hard to say no to the homeless dogs and the little stories that each profile tells. I want to take them all home, but the right dog is important for the long haul.

We have an 8-year-old Pekingese who is my baby, and I knew she wouldn’t want to take on a new sibling who was too rambunctious or domineering. We also had to consider having human children some day. Did I want an adult dog that came from an abusive situation?

It’s hard to think “puppy” with those sad adult faces staring at me, but then I found her. She and her three sisters were found tied to a tree in a park. They were brought to the animal shelter, only to be rescued quickly by a local group that fosters dogs.

I stared at her photo for days. She looked a little like Sowebo, and I even found Jack checking out her photo on his own.

When a puppy becomes available, it’s not for long. I didn’t want to hesitate but didn’t want to rush into a 15-year relationship without proper consideration.

A few calls put me in touch with the foster mom. She offered to let me see the puppies that very day. After work, I stopped by to find four squirmy girls vying for attention.

They always say to choose the dog that comes to you, and it wasn’t hard to figure that one out. The blonde one I had my eye on walked over to my lap and laid down for a nap.

“Why don’t you take her home for the night so your husband can get to know her?” the foster mom asked.

The thought thrilled me but also freaked me out. I didn’t want to blindside my grieving husband. Yet, I couldn’t say no to such a precious babydoll.

I placed her safely in the car and headed home, making sure to beat Jack home.

My husband walked in with an, “Oh, no. What did you do?”

We took her to the park, and it didn’t take too long for the oohs and ahhs to sway him toward keeping her. It wasn’t until later that night, though, when I found him sleeping with her asleep on his chest that I knew our new girl was here to stay.

After a week of debating names and getting too much input from her new relatives, we decided to commemorate our recent trip to Italy and our favorite local bar, Dizzy Issie’s. We chose Isabella, aka Issie.

Isabella is a growing mix of whatever breeds we think of that day. Some days she looks like a dingo, others a German shepherd mix, for about a week a Husky-huahua, if that even exists. All I am certain of is that she is beautiful, and people around me support that opinion.

The first month of Issie’s life she had the cutest little floppy ears on her 6-pound body. Then one day I came home from work and my baby had giant stiff ears that now only droop when she’s running really fast.

She loves the park, other dogs and especially people. The moment I step out of the room, she follows.

I have heard this from other rescue dog owners, and I really believe that rescues love attention even more than their purebred peers. I know that by choosing her I will have her love for as long as she can give it.

It has been an adjustment for LuLu, who went from confused by Sowebo’s disappearance to soaking up her newfound single-child status. She has done her part to put Issie’s baby teeth in their place, but that actually helps Issie learn her limits.

The amazing side effect is that LuLu is more outgoing than ever. She used to cringe when strangers would try to pet her, especially children. This past weekend she let two toddlers pet her face without a sign of fear.

As for Jack and me, we are adjusting to life with a puppy. She wakes us up with her whines in the middle of the night when she has to go out to the bathroom. She also loves to put anything in her mouth, which includes not only sticks but dog poop and other nasty treats.

She is not Sowebo, and that’s how we want it to be. If she ends up just as sweet and loving, we will always be happy that she chose us.