It’s strange how when you lose someone you begin to look for perhaps something to replace that void. Completely impossible. It wasn’t a month after my dear FIL passed away and I responded to a friend of a friend’s request for possible care of their precious toddler part time. After conversation with my husband and prayer, I knew that wasn’t what I was to do. In fact, my husband’s response was, “Don’t you think you need a bit of a break?” When my mother in love had passed away, it wasn’t long before we moved my FIL, “PawPaw,” in with us. Our family worked as a team to help care for him and love on him. Most interestingly, we never sat down and said “You do this, you do that”; we all seemed to operate in our strengths for the most part, each one of us bringing something different to the table.
So a few months later I began a search for a Schnauzer. Tony and I had two Schnauzers before the kids came along: Scruffy and Toot-Toot. We loved those dogs. Their passing would have been much harder on us had our kids not been very young, keeping us busy! I searched and searched…and found my searching was becoming a bit obsessive. Tony had finally acquiesced to a second dog. Yep, that’s right. We already have a dog. But he’s an outside dog, and I was looking for an inside dog.
My obsessiveness was an alarm that went off inside me and I backed off. I decide to “Love the dog your with.” Each of us loves on our dear dog, but there are times when I’m sure he goes through periods of neglect. And I’m sure with the caring of PawPaw, there had been some of that. So every night I began taking time after dinner to go sit on the back porch in the rocker and brush him. He was very receptive! I began taking time to throw the ball for him, which he loves chasing after….if only he’d learn to “drop” the ball so I don’t have to fight him for it! We’ve worked on that with some treats, which he gladly exchanges the ball for a treat…but then we run out and I forget to pick up more at the store. Alas, I go back to fighting him for it sometimes. Then I started taking him with me during our walking time. Then it was winter and I started letting him stay in during the night. Yes, read between the lines: SPOILED. He thinks he now belongs inside. He comes in, checks out a few spots where food might have been dropped, and then lays himself down on the cool floor. It’s now near summer here, and he’s back outside for a while, but still thinking he belongs inside with us.
What I came to enjoy about loving the dog I was with was this: almost every time I interact with him, he wags his tail for me. He looks up at me with those big brown eyes and wags his tail. His wagging tail is a smile for me – and I smile back. He’s happy. And that makes me happier.