Friday, August 30, 2013

Dog Loss

A miracle in teen rearing is bringing me back from my blog slumber--more on that later. Everyone says it when trying to catch up and enumerate all the mentionable instances in life, but really: so much has happened.

In the middle of July, our dog, Nike, died. I'm finally at a point where I can think about it without crying, but I think that it will be a topic that will forever bring me into some level of sadness. Chris and I dealt with our loss differently, and it was interesting to learn the differences even with my grief. He took a day to cry at the sight of every Nike-related thing in our lives, which was everything. I did, too. But with time, even with my family around me, I felt haunted and lonely and missed the sound of our dog's clicking nails against the wood floors in our home.

I became obsessed with looking up dogs at the pound and on Craigslist. And while at times, Chris felt and expressed that it was too soon, I eventually dragged him to the pound. Actually to every pound. In one day. After one rescue and two pounds, you start to feel like you're on a mission. Couple that with bringing along a one-year-old, two-year-old, and a teenager and you're really hoping for the Holy Grail.

What were we searching for exactly? A puppy. A well-socialized puppy who liked kids. Medium, under 60 pounds.

And while we walked around The Animal Foundation's new dog facilities, I very innocently mentioned to John, my teenage brother-in-law, how volunteering there would be such a help to the many dogs wishing for a new home. Chris rolled his eyes, and I defended my position for one rebuttal, but that was pretty much it. We continued looking for a dog, sometimes coming upon a contender and marking their kennel number in a memo. There was even one puppy we came across who Chris walked right by. I stopped everyone to show them this white, black-spotted dog who was so quiet but had a sparkle in his eye. When we came back to look at him, there was immediate enthusiasm. And when we took him on a walk, he licked and licked Dean and Dianna.

That's how Buddy came into our lives.

I'm still adjusting to our new family member. We all are. He seems to have a much smaller bladder than Nike. But he's taking to our daily hikes, bike rides, and training well. I don't think he did much with his last owners other than beg for petting, so he really enjoys stretching his brain. Dianna and John have also taken an active role in training.

It's been nearly a month now, and tonight John asked me how he can volunteer at the Animal Foundation. Apparently, he said, he "was in third period thinking about all the dogs that needed some attention at the shelter and thought about volunteering."

I know. Shock. There's the miracle. If anything positive were to come out of this experience, that statement was the highlight. It hasn't happened yet, but I'm excited to do some more research on this and give the final supportive push.

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