My children have never lived in a house without a dog. My husband and I got our first puppy when we were engaged -- a decision I made without his approval. Although he was very apprehensive about my decision back then, as soon as he laid his eyes on that tiny beagle sitting in the palms of my hands, he fell instantly into complete puppy love. Our second dog was a shih-tzu mix named Junior. We inherited him 10 years ago when my father passed away. I have a HUGE soft spot for animals, especially dogs.
Fast forward to last August, when after having to put down the dog we inherited from my dad, our house was dogless for the first time in 20 years. Having just gone through two elderly dog life cycles in a row, and given the demands of constantly running around with three very busy boys, it was honestly a little bit of a relief not to have to care for the older pets (which had become very high maintenance over the past three years). As much as I loved my pets, and as difficult as it was to say goodbye to them, I needed a break. At that point in time, I really thought I would enjoy the freedom of a pet-free home and never get a dog again. Until a fateful chain of events took place.
This past June my oldest son graduated from the eighth grade. Our kids had been talking about getting a new dog A LOT since our last puppy went over the Rainbow Bridge. Don’t kids always want a dog? Children usually have the same game plan when trying to convince their parents to get a new dog. They promise to take care of the dog, to walk the dog, to feed the dog, and let us not forget the biggest promise/fib of all-- to pick up the dog’s poop. Then the age old story of age-old stories occurs once the dog comes home. The novelty of having the dog wanes, and the reality of caring for a pet sets in, and the parents become responsible for keeping yet another being in the house alive, fed and safe. I used this game plan on my parents when I was a kid, so I was able to keep the pangs in my heart that wanted a new puppy at bay for a while. Then my eighth grader said something that stuck a knife in my heart too deep to ignore: “mom, please don’t wait until I’m a junior in high school to get a dog, because then I will only have two years with him.” That comment, and some other unfortunate events that took place over the few months prior, caused me to fall head-over-heels in love with a puppy I saw on a local rescue website called “Wag On Inn Dog Rescue.” Our house needed some extra happiness, and this little black puppy with his white chest, white paws and gentle loving eyes instantly stole my heart. From the second I saw him, I knew he was ours, and the minute I got a glimmer of excitement from my husband (who was understandably reluctant to take on such a big commitment), I began filling out the application for this adorable baby named “Bear.” We got the acceptance call from the rescue facility shortly after it was submitted, and we picked him up from his foster mom just a few days later.
Some people say there are no coincidences, and I am one of those people. From a practical standpoint, I legitimately worried about a new puppy keeping me up all night, destroying my house and furniture, having a bad disposition, or being wild and out of control. It was also frightening to think of getting a dog with health issues. Despite my reasonable fears, I was all-in and willing to take the chance. This angel was sent straight from heaven into our house. It has been almost three months now and we ALL couldn’t be happier to have opened up our home and our hearts to this good boy. Someone upstairs, whether it be the big man, my dad, or even my first puppy Woody, knew that with all I have going on right now, I needed an easy going, trouble-free, sweetheart of a dog-- and I got one. (As an aside, I found our new puppy Bear on the Wag-On-Inn Rescue website on my first dog Woody’s birthday, so perhaps it was meant to be!)