Fourteen years ago I brought home the sweetest little puppy.
Her arrival prompted the one and only “real” argument my husband and I have ever had.
We had recently put down our dog Jake, and his absence was killing me. Everyone grieves differently and my way of dealing was to immediately get another dog. I wasn’t trying to replace him, as much as fill the void he had left in the house.
Dan asked me not to. Buuuuuuuuut, I did it anyway.
It was a hot, summer day and I drove two hours to a shelter with my mother in law and Andrew who was almost two at the time. The shelter had just received a shipment of puppies from a kill shelter in West Virginia and I was determined that I was not coming home without a new pup.
There were several outdoor pens set up with a bunch of rambunctious, little puppies of all types. They were all barking, running around, nipping and playing with each other. Most were paying more attention to their pen-mates than the people there to meet them and take them home.
Then there was little Bailey. All alone at the far end of one of the pens. She seemed so frightened by all the activity and clearly wanted no part of any of it. I remember urging my mother in law toward all the playful puppies, but Andrew was instantly drawn to her. He put his hands toward her and she gently licked his fingers and rested her head in his hands.
They say the dog chooses their owner and after seeing that, there was no doubt. She found her new family. She slept the entire way home in the back seat. Andrew had his hands on her head the whole time. Even if he nodded off, his hand was still on her soft little head.
I called Dan on the way to let him know when I would be home. It went exactly how I thought it would, but I had hoped it would’ve gone better.
“How many pulses are in the car right now?” he asked.
He didn’t speak to me for a week. Literally. A week. He was so angry with me that I honestly don’t think he would’ve spit on me if I were on fire. That’s a lie. He may have spit on me.
He did his best to stay away from her. That was impossible though. She was too damn cute. She was a beautiful reddish, brown color, had the softest little ears and a her tail had a little white tip on the end like it had been dipped in paint. She couldn’t keep up with herself when she tried to run and would tumble head first. For at least a week, she never barked. We started thinking she never would. Then she let out her first bark and scared the crap out of herself. When she finally figured out the noise came from her, she used her voice often.
I loved the way she would go outside in the yard with the kids and “patrol” the perimeter of the yard. If her kids were outside playing, strangers had no chance of getting past. Ask the mailman. Nina would shout out to me “I’m going outside! I’m taking the Bay!”
I’ll miss how soft the tips of her ears were, how here feet smelled like Fritos, how she’d tell on the cat, how she’d take her dog food one mouthful at a time into the living room and throw it on the floor and bark at and how she wouldn’t let us go to sleep until she had six treats. More was ok, less was unacceptable.
Cleaning is therapeutic
I spent the afternoon cleaning the house. Shampooing the couch where she spent most of her time in past few months and removing her things from sight so Im not reminded of her everywhere. Of course, I’m sitting here looking at the newly cleaned and refreshed couch and I can’t stop crying.
I had her almost as long as I’ve had Andrew and longer than Nina. And now she isn’t here. And it sucks. It was time and I know that, but it doesn’t make it any easier.
I have been told that I am not allowed to pick the next dog. I’m okay with that. When the time is right, our next pup will pick us.
Can you do me a favor and go give your dog a big snuggle for me?
Thanks. I needed that. ♥