After Willie the pug passed on to Dog Heaven, my husband refused to entertain any discussions about getting another dog. What’s funny about this scenario is that it was HIM that had insisted on getting Willie in the first place. When my oldest son started third grade, my husband decided that it was time to get a dog. I hadn’t grown up with dogs, so I discouraged any movement in this direction. I grew up in a cat family and I felt more comfortable around them since I had no idea what to do with a dog. I felt totally fulfilled having Fred, the cat.
My husband eventually won the war and he found Willie through a Rescue organization. We came to love Willie, even though we spent numerous hours searching for Willie in the neighborhood. Willie had a penchant for “being on the run” and I suppose that’s how he came to be a rescue dog. He perfected his getaway through a tiny space in the fence. The whole family toiled away hours searching for him again and again. In fact, when people would see me driving around the area, they would yell to me “I’ll keep an eye out for Willie.” They didn’t know my name, but they definitely knew his.
The point is that Willie wasn’t the easiest first dog. That’s probably why when he died my husband said, “no more dogs.” But I was insistent — I wanted another dog. In fact, I wanted another dog so much that I researched pugs all over Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky, determined to find the right one. The person that didn’t want the dog became insistent on having another dog.
With my husband out of town, I drove down to Lexington to pick out a dog. My 17-year-old son fought for the youngest puppy but I set eyes on 6-month-old Miles and knew he was “the one.” We brought him home and I took full responsibility for him. Let’s face it, this was my dog — which is ironic since I originally didn’t even know what to do with a dog!
During this time, I was working as a Mental Health Therapist in Social Services. On Mondays, the Psychiatrist would come in to see my clients and prescribe medications. We were eating lunch together and talking when I shared with him my story about picking out Miles, the Pug. “Hmmmm…interesting,” he said.
“You do understand why you insisted on getting the dog, don’t you? That dog is a replacement for your children that are almost grown and gone. It gives you something to nurture and love — it’s a healthy way to handle your loss.” What a typical statement from a Psychiatrist! Then, for the next few minutes, I mulled over what he had shared.
I had to admit it, but he nailed it! That’s exactly what I was doing; I just wasn’t cognizant of my intentions at the time. That dog was mine and I treated him like a child. I had found a way to deal with the fact that my life was transitioning to a new phase. I was preparing myself for the change in my life by having a new little one to nurture and care for. I did it so effortlessly that I hadn’t even noticed what I was doing.
When life changes, you have a couple of options on how to handle it. You can keep looking back and lamenting on how you don’t want your life to change and hang on to the past like there’s no tomorrow. I can pretty much guarantee this option won’t make you very happy. Or, you can accept reality, learn a little more about YOU and figure out how to fill that need in your life in a positive, healthy manner. Delve a bit deeper and discover what will satisfy you today and in the future.
And it won’t be the worst thing in the world for you to come home with a dog.