Thursday, April 18, 2013

Still my Best Friends

Man’s best friend. My best friends. I have always been a dog lover. I was very happy when, as an adult, I could have my own dog. I researched to see what breed I wanted. A dog that would be good with the kids I would have someday and be ok while I was at work all day. I decided on a pug. Or rather, two of them! Zoe was a fawn (brown) pug and Tucker is a black one. Both are sweet, lazy and uncommonly cute.

When I met my husband Zoe and Tucker were two and four years old and ridiculously spoiled. Both were overweight, slept in my bed, and basically ruled my life. My husband, though he liked them, did not want to be subjects in their kingdom and so he instituted a few rules. They had to lose weight and were no longer allowed to eat off of our plates or sleep in the bed. There was an adjustment period. Tucker ‘may have’ left some stinky brown presents outside our bedroom door to show how excited he was to not be sleeping with his Mommy anymore, and Zoe shed so incessantly that my new husband couldn’t understand why there was even hair in his shoes.
Eventually we all did adjust. And then I got pregnant. Poor pugs could just not understand why my lap was getting smaller and smaller. I bought a pregnancy pillow, one of those huge snake-looking things and Tucker decided it was HIS pillow. I remember my husband wondering why my pillow was so big and so hairy! I ended up having to finish working a few weeks before my due date and both dogs were happy to have me home full time. Little did they know what was to come!
When I brought my son home from the hospital we all had to adjust again. Zoe became so stressed that she developed a bladder infection. I’ll never forget getting up in the middle of the night with a newborn and seeing my poor dog urinate blood on the carpet. But she grew to love Mason. Zoe always had kisses for him and always wanted to be close to him. When he cried she would run over to him, try to comfort him and give me disparaging looks until I could run over and pick him up. Tucker, who liked children but didn’t have a lot of exposure to babies, wasn’t so sure. This new ‘thing’ made a lot of noise and took up a lot of Mommy’s time it seemed. But once Mason started eating solids he and Tucker became very close friends!
Whenever many of us would gather with our babies it was usually at my place because I was the one with the four legged vacuum cleaners - easiest clean up ever. Pugs will eat anything but seemed to have a particular fondness for baby food. Both dogs enjoyed having me home and seemed to enjoy the baby too, until he started being able to get around. I had always heard the advice to never leave your dog alone with a baby. Usually this advice was given to avoid the baby being bitten. In my case it was good advice because I had to make sure my baby wasn’t hurting my dogs! They were so patient that I had to keep a close eye on my tiny tail/ear/wrinkle puller so he didn’t hurt his furry brother and sister.
By the time I got pregnant again Mason was four, Tucker was ten years old and Zoe was almost twelve. We were overjoyed until, a few days later, we found out Zoe had cancer. We made the agonizing decision to put her down. I will never forget how tough that day was. Mason didn’t fully understand until a couple of weeks later when it sunk in that she wasn’t coming back. Poor Tucker had the worst of it. He searched for her for a long time. Every time we took him in the car he’d search wherever we went to see if she was there. I missed my constant lap companion; Zoe was always on my heels and I missed always being able to turn around and know she was there. Taking a bath without her sitting beside the bathtub keeping me company was tough; as was watching poor Tucker have to sleep by himself instead of curled around her. But, once again our family adjusted.
It has been over a year now since we lost her. Both Mason and I still have dreams about her and Tucker has gotten older and since become deaf. We now have eight month old baby Ben and I often wonder what Zoe would have thought about him. Tucker has strangely taken to him and loves to sit beside him while he pulls on his fur and rubs his chubby little pink feet against his furry belly. Tucker will be twelve this year and I know he only has a few years left. It makes me sad to think I will have to go through this again but I have had so many good years with my dogs and I am grateful. They have brought so much joy to my life and to my children’s lives as well. I know for me that I never want to be without a dog in my life ever again, and I believe I have turned my children into dog crazy people poor poor husband....

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