A year ago, on the last week at school, I sat at a table at Cracker Barrel with my best friend and cried like a crazy person. That's not true. Crazy people yell and scream and wail. I didn't do that, but I cried. Maybe I even ugly cried. I was making one of the most difficult decisions of my adult life. I was deciding that it was time to let go of Cowboy.
For those of you who are new to me and my family I guess I should explain. Cowboy was our rat terrier. Best. Dog. Ever. Easy and I got Cowboy within the first month of our marriage. Easy's dad bred rat terriers so we knew Cowboy's parents (Buddy & Corky) well. He was the epitome of a pet that is really a family member. He was almost 15 when we let him go. He had congestive heart failure and arthritis. We had him on meds for about two years there at the end, but we had reached the point that even on the meds he clearly didn't feel well. He wasn't going to get better. So I made the decision.
Don't get me wrong, Easy was in agreement. I'm pretty sure he even called and talked to vet before actually making the appointment to make sure we were making a good choice. But it felt like my decision. Easy would NEVER have pushed me to let him go if I wasn't ready. He never even mentioned it. I came to the decision in my own time (with some verbal processing assistance from my mom, my best friend, and Easy) and he simply held me, cried with me, and handled the details. I sure love that man.
So, why am I writing about this a year later? Well, first it's because I wasn't blogging a year ago. Second, it's because I need a break from cleaning my room. I hate cleaning my room. Always have. I'm pretty sure I genetically passed that trait on to both of my girls. But the reason I'm cleaning my room is actually the third reason I'm writing about this now....
We are getting a new puppy next weekend! Did that sound excited? I was going for excited. Truth is I'm pretty mixed on this one. Am I ready for a new puppy with all it's cuteness and puppy breath and snuggles? Absolutely. Am I ready to watch my kids bond with a pet that they can all know and love from it's infancy to adulthood? Yep. Am I ready for Briley (our 6 year old Vizsla) to have a buddy dog again because she has gotten increasingly neurotic over the last year? You better believe it. Am I ready to give my heart to a precious little critter knowing full well the heartache I will endure when it's time to say goodbye. Meh.
Is that terrible? I didn't even realize I was feeling that way until I started cleaning my room today. We were supposed to puppy sit a friend's new weiner dog this weekend. She changed her mind at the last minute (didn't want to be away from her baby) and I realized that was actually good because our house is nowhere near puppy-proof at the moment. So I'm working hard to get it de-cluttered and ready for a little chewing, peeing, ball of cuteness. I think seeing how totally in love with her puppy she is made me realize that I'm about to do that again. I'm about to adopt another member into our family. One that I know will ultimately break my heart, and the heart of my kids. That's just how it works.
Is it worth it? I think so. There is so much joy and laughter that will happen along the way. It will be especially awesome to watch Tripp with this particular pet. He just in the last year start to have any interest in our pets and he showed it most with two kittens. (Please don't ask what happened to the kittens. That would be a whole separate blog post.) It seems he likes baby animals. My hope is that getting to help raise a puppy will help him in his ability to emotional bond with others. I've read lots of things that describe how beneficial raising a pet is for a child with autism. The girls are ecstatic about a new puppy and the hardest part I see there is keeping them from fighting over it. That, and keeping Vivi from injuring it with her overzealous love. It's going to be worth it. It's going to be great. It's going to be work. It will provide new parenting opportunities. It will help increase the nurturing skills of all three kids. It will try my patience. It will add a HUGE dose of love to our house. Yeah, it will ultimately ads some heartache too, but that's ok. Loss is part of life on this fallen planet.
Being a person that does not grieve well, I realize that teaching my kids how to deal with loss is an important part of raising them. I've had more opportunities than I would prefer to work on that with them. Most recently we worked on that lesson when the precious man that led our children's church each Sunday was killed in a work related accident. As I'm sitting there typing I realize that Earle would get a new puppy. He would embrace all the love and joy that God gives us in this life. He would use it to teach the kids that God gives and God takes away and that it all works for good. Everything good comes from the Lord. Puppy breath included.