Strange as I usually do not get a lot of visitors of the two-legged kind….
My neighbor and his 8 month old puppy, Gus, were standing there when I opened the door. He just been called into work for the day for an emergency. With his wife away, they didn’t want to leave Gus alone for the entire day.
I appreciated the hound-dog look on both faces. Let’s be realistic though – hangouts with a puppy? Yes please.
Gus is a pretty lucky duck dog. He has two wonderful owners who truly appreciate him. They experienced a similar loss to us, with their 3 year old Chocolate lab early last year. They took the time they needed, and then happily brought rescue puppy Gus into their lives last fall. Gus’s feline brother from another mama. “Beau” is featured below. He adores dogs, so much that he ensures to go visit them all in our neighborhood – whether they reciprocate his love or not.
Hang-outs with Gus reminded me why puppies are fantastic – once again.
They inject an air of goofy happiness that never ceases to amaze me. They also help reinforce important life lessons like…
There’s something to be said about being a doggie mama.
It’s an identity.
I can’t tell you how many times someone has remembered me because of my dog. I know they have no hope of ever remembering my name.. but my dog? Always! My feelings weren’t hurt. I’d prefer him too – look at that FACE!
I adored being “Newton’s mom”. The name itself implied an ownership and and truly personal relationship – meaning I was his, and he was mine. How much better does it get then that?
The same is said in reverse. I know most of dogs around our neighborhood by sight, I’d probably know most of their names and MIGHT even know which house they belong to. However, to tell you the names of their humans could be a downright impossible task if I was ever asked. I’d cheat and look for the last name on their mailbox and then add a Mr or Mrs in front of it – cheating?? Never 🙂
I have a few friends that do not understand this reference to “Doggie mama”, “Fur-child”, “Grand-puppies” and “fur-babies”. They don’t believe in the wonderful world of doggie daycare, socialization or playdates for creatures with four legs. They automatically raise their hackles and call me out on it. I don’t fight them on it – but really why can’t I be considered a doggie mama? I don’t fully understand this nerve that I’ve hit – maybe because I don’t have kids? I do have friends who have kids and adore their dogs – and even have said in the past – “I have 5 kids, whether they have two or four legs is irrelevant”. Love this gal.
So in trying to get to the root of the issue as it’s hard for me to see the other side – Is it because I’m putting my dog on the same level as their child by putting them in the same category as “child”? I’m not trying to say that raising a dog is exactly like raising a child. There are MANY differences, I get it. There are also similarities too. Gone are the days where a dog is JUST a dog. Taking into consideration what being a mother means, why can’t we call ourselves “mamas” or “papas”? It is indeed a giant job, a huge undertaking that I know all of you understand. When you decide to bring a dog into your life, It’s a vast spectrum encompassing love, patience and understanding. Why can’t you be considered a mama if it’s in reference to rearing a dog?
To me a mother is the woman who raises you, who is there for you to comfort you when you are sick or hurt, the woman who laughs with you, who cries with you, who loves you, even when you aren’t exactly lovable and forget all the hours, days and weeks of training. I’d do all of these things for my dog, again and again. In the end, as a dog mama or papa we ultimately have to make the toughest final decision of all, and place their needs leaps and bounds beyond our own.
“There are many definitions of the word mother, and many are applicable. Only those with “closed eyes” can’t see that there are many meanings to “mother.” A person who gives birth is a mother. A person who raises a child is mother. A person who loves and cares for a child is a mother…etc. Mother Theresa was a “mother” to thousands of poor children. It is not an all-or-nothing word….it is a spectrum.”
As most of you know, I love being around dogs, but there’s just something about being a doggie mama that really feels right. Nothing quite prepares you for the first burst of pride when your dog is FINALLY behaving out in public and someone compliments you on your dog. Or you see your dog land a trick you’ve been training for OR you see your dog do something that’s amazingly sweet and unscripted – like this:
It’s something I feel only a parent can feel – whether it has two or four legs is, as a friend said, is irrelevant.
Parental pride and love, people, is a thing of beauty.
Enjoy being a doggie mama (or papa), as it goes by all too fast. I can’t wait to become a doggie mama again – I might just get it embroidered on a sweater 🙂
My fiance and I took another visit to the now two week old Bernese Mountain dog puppies. It was his first time returning since we went to meet and discuss a home for our Newton, 3 years prior. We once again were received with face licks, body wiggles and Berner smiles (From the dogs, not the breeder – haha). After an little while chatting with one of the breeders and snuggling with the 2 week old puppies, we went to a friends’ surprise birthday party.
My mind however lingered on the Berners. I know there’s a long wait list for puppies, so when we arrived home we talked. We talked about our readiness, our commitment, our finances, our time, and of course Newton. As you can imagine, I talked the most. What came out of our chat was that we believe we’ll be ready to welcome our arms up after our big three week trip to Europe in July.
While Newton still has my heart, I think I’m able to share what bits are left. Waiting for a bit longer will also give me more time to work on what I need to.
I need some more time just to honor and remember Newton. It may sound strange, but I feel as if I’m giving him a disservice if I stop what I’m doing now. Also, let’s be serious I could not have a new puppy or dog and leave for 3 weeks. Thank you to my Mr. for making me realize this. There is just NO WAY. Even though we’d have fantastic support, I’d constantly be thinking of everything I was missing out on! If it turns out to be a rescue or a puppy, we need to reintroduce consistency. Leaving for 3 – 4 weeks is exactly the opposite!
I also took my Mr. to the SPCA with me yesterday. He met my new buddy Rusty. Rusty is super sweet, but very timid to strangers and anything new. He’s like the 80 year old woman next door that peeks out from behind her curtains, curious about what’s going on but wants his door closed for protection against life. We’ve developed a special relationship – in the dog runs, he runs into my arms full speed and turns last minute and collapses in them. Always giving me face licks in the process. I really need to work with him on the full speed ahead tactic 🙂 We worked with him meeting my Mr. (new people!), going past with his tail high and wagging, and ears up, rewarding him the entire time. He also went to meet my Mr. once free in the training room all by himself, sniffing his leg and hand, allowing my Mr. to even reward a head pat or two. What a good boy!
Then there’s Des. You’ve met Des before, she puts me through my paces every single freaking time. Walking her is a workout. I can’t even try and manage her until she has run out her energy. We take her to a dog run, play “catch the snowball” and run the excitement out of her. Then we get to work on her resource guarding. Des is like the grouchy old man of my little pack that likes HER things. “Silly youngsters”, I can imagine her saying, “Keep your paws off my stuff!”. She has been letting me slowing get closer to her as she holds her tennis ball. Today she looked at me while holding her tennis ball with her tail wagging, I rewarded her with a butt scratch. She dropped the tennis ball at my feet. PROGRESS!!
So we came home and took one more step forward – We filled out the applications for both the SPCA and the breeder. We want to be ready in case we find the right rescue or the right puppy or dog for our family after our trip. We wanted to get started early as I know some people who have been waiting a year or two for one of their Berner puppies. There are a few reasons for this, first of all, they do not churn out puppies like a puppy mill. Secondly, they only breed dogs that pass their pen/hip score clearances and eye exams. This helps weed out early hip/elbow displaysia and the eye/health issues that Berners are prone to. We’re going to fill out another form for the Bernese Rescue Society of Canada after our trip.
I’ve discovered three things throughout this process so far.
1. I never want to be just a single dog family again. Ideally I’d like to welcome our arms in July/August to a new furry friend, then keep our eyes and ears open shortly after for another.
2. Filling out both forms was both exciting and gut wrenching *sigh*.
3. Our retirement plan will be to Foster dogs 🙂 Long term planning at it’s finest, we’ll see – maybe we’ll be ready before!
There was a guilt that I felt about moving on to another dog that I knew would be there, but still did not feel comfortable. Newton will forever be a part of me, this I know. I’ve said this once, but I believed he was the daily food for my soul. Sounds dramatic, but true nonetheless. I am trying to consider this next step a tribute to him. A testament to him, making us better owners and dog lovers. Newt would want us to be happy, living life to it’s fullest as he did. Our lives are the happiest and richest when we have a furry friend by our side. Until July, we’ll keep taking it day by day, week by week, month by month.