It’s been a long decade so far.
I’m in dire need of change.
For the better this time. Please.
The past three years have been filled with a lot of sadness and heartbreak and caregiving and tender, sacred moments. I’m not saying I’ve had any more to deal with than anyone else, but, not for nothin’ y’all, I’m tired.
I need a little pick me up.
Or maybe a little something to pick up. *teeheeheeing gleefully*
As time winds down to the day that my oldest heads out on the next leg of her life journey, I find myself in need of something to care for, to cuddle, to sit next to when I’m reading. And y’all, Cooter, my baby, is six and it’s just not his thing anymore.
I want me a puppy.
I grew up with dogs and puppies. My great-grandparents were known in the area for the rat terriers they raised. My Granny also bred dogs. Her Bassett puppies were so adorable, I still melt when I think of them. It’s in the family.
My first dog was Pete. We had him when it was just me and Mama and Daddy and we lived in Meriwether County. He was a beautiful dog.
And a good buddy.
Later on we had Blue. He was a little smaller but had a great big heart.
A few years later, Daddy was working on a farm near my Granny’s, and one day a dog showed up. Daddy took a liking to him and brought him home for us. He was named Slocum, because I told Daddy he was slow to come when I called him. But he was the greatest dance partner EVER.
Over the years there were many other dogs. Shadow and Sugarfoot came along when Mama took us to go get a new puppy. Mama and my sister loved Sugarfoot and I loved Shadow. The folks giving them away offered Mama a big bag of food if she took both. I’ve already said how much Mama loved her a bargain, so yes, both of those little loves came home with us. We also had Belle the Bassett, and Samantha the German Shepherd. Samantha just showed up one day at our first house in Byron. She attached immediately. I remember one day a mean stray showed up when I went to check the mail. That dog barked and growled at me. Samantha walked sideways and pushed me all the way back to my front door, barking and protecting me the whole time. A special one that one.
When I graduated from college, I got myself a puppy that was 1/2 Bassett, 1/4 Fiest, and 1/4 Chihuahua. So sweet. Her name was Madge. She was my little lady. Until she got aggravated and scrunched that cute little face up at you. In my previous life I was part of the family with Millie, a Boston Terrier. Smartest dog I’ve ever known. You could ask her if she was hungry or thirsty or wanted candy. And depending on what she wanted, she’d either be still or start bouncing on her back legs. She knew what you were asking. She also became very defensive of me, which I really appreciated. Then there were Scarlett, Rhett, Prissy, and Pittypat, the Beagles–my attempt to join the ranks of the breeders in my family. It might have gone well if I hadn’t had to move back home. But that’s another story.
When my girl and I ventured out on our own we added Bosley and LizzieLou Ashalee to our family. They were both sweet dogs and brought us comfort and protection and companionship. Years later after our family returned from Japan and we settled into our own home, we added sweet Tater, the Golden Lab/Bassett mix we adopted. He was a sweet dog, but he just got wanderlust and started digging out. This started right after the boxers next door started digging out. I swanee those dogs whispered their secrets to him under the fence. *sigh* Anyway, we were lucky to find a farm to take him in where he could roam and roam and live with a beautiful American bulldog buddy.
And so here we are now. Dog-less. Because of allergies we are downsizing our cats to only the outdoor ones. And I’m sad.
I want me a puppy. A hypoallergenic, indoor, follow me around and remind me of the fun in life, genuine puppy. I used to say it was hard to sit on your pity pot when you had a little one sitting in your lap. Now that my littles have just about outgrown the lap-sitting phase, I’m going to modify that statement: It’s hard to sit on your pity pot when you have a dog looking in your eye and licking your face. I just know it would be.
The crew and I have talked about it. I told them we’d name her “Miss Kay” when we get her. (Note the positive thinking use of “when.”) I’ve mentioned this want (dare I say need?) to some of my friends. One sweet friend said she wanted to go with me when I get my puppy. Another suggested maybe I should get a rutabaga instead. That tickled my funnybone. I think that might just be a good name for my new little one. Aub says we could call her “Rudy” for short. I like it.
And so the decision-making and discussion continues. I think back over the years and dogs that my parents let us have. What I appreciate so much now that I’m grown is that they let us get those dogs, despite being pretty sure of how it would turn out. That they would wind up taking care of the dog, that hearts would be broken eventually, that ultimately one of the dogs would tear up or chew up something. It’s just the nature of the animals–both the children and the dogs. And yet, they still said yes. More times than not.
As I do my research on breeds (Yorkie or Morkie) and remember all that having a puppy again would require, I know there are downsides to the warm and fuzzies. I have had my share of piddle puddles and getting up at 3 a.m. to housebreak a puppy and heartworm treatments and losing a puppy to parvo or a dog to an automobile. It’s hard stuff. But in the end, for me, the warm and fuzzies win out.
Years and years ago, I gave my Granny a print by Mary Engelbreit which had a quote by Robert Whalen on it. She and I both loved it so much that when I found the art on a t-shirt I got it. It reminds me of two parts of my life that made me very happy–my Granny and my puppies.
As the winds of change come sweeping down the plain, I find myself more and more certain that, while a puppy might not fix everything, it would come mighty, mighty close. Yep, I’m thinking Imma need me that puppy.