Puppy Love (Part 1)

The invitation for me to bring the kids to see one of our best friends’ new litter of five-week-old puppies seemed harmless enough. In fact, I thought it would be a cheap date for me and our soon-to-be five-year-old Benjamin.  So our youngest and I brown bagged it for lunch one day and took the 25-minute drive out of town to the used car dealership my childhood friend and her husband own.

As Benjamin opened the door into the service garage to his left was a make-shift kennel full of newspaper pages, dog food and water, and nine adorable black lab puppies.  Benjamin was captivated. His eyes filled with wonder and excitement.  Watching him play with the puppies would warm anyone’s heart.

Joe and I have always been dog people.  We are former dog owners.  My husband and I had enmeshed relationships with a series of cocker spaniels.   I got the first one when I was single and on my own.  Huey completely destroyed my tiny studio apartment.   Our second was Wink, the one-eyed dog with lots of expensive health problems.  We acquired Wink when hearing about the stray’s plight in a Bible study we did together.  As D-I-N-K-S (dual income no kids) we lost all sense of financial reality.  No vet bill was too high.  God saved us from ourselves by taking Wink.

The last cocker spaniel, Cleveland, who was likely inbreed nearly bit my husband’s hand off, which was why we had to put him down.  We knew we could not have him around children. About a year before we had to put Cleevey to sleep,  my husband had rescued a lost cat Clarice.  Cleeve nearly killed her on several occasions. In self defense, she learned to maintain a low profile.  For about a day she seemed to miss Cleevey, but as soon she realized he was going permanently it was time to celebrate.

Fifteen years later Clarice, who has been a cuddly and gentle cat, is now on her last legs with arthritis, a dropping bottom eyelid that causes her eye to water and become irritated, and difficulty getting into her liter box because of her hips.  With our oldest son Ian’s cochlear implants, we had always seen getting a dog as not an option.  We envisioned a $14,000 set of cochlear implants that Ian might have left on the coffee table being tossed around as a dog toy.

“Mommy, can I please, please, please have a puppy.”

We even were going to get the godson discount.  We would get a $250 discount off of a $250 price.

“We’ll talk with daddy.”

Benjamin skipped to the car, eager to tell his siblings about the puppies.

As adults it is easy to get stuck in a set pattern and lose playfulness and spontaneity.  My vision for our life started to shift from my planned course of a dogless household.  I became open to the possibilities for the future through the eyes of our child.

Catholic Women’s Guide to Healthy Relationship Tip:  Be open to the unexpected turns of life, especially when led there by a child.