Christmas Puppy

Hello everyone. It is the day after Christmas and I am hanging in bed at six thirty in the morning with a tall glass of Emergen C at my bedside and half a mug of unfinished cider. I had a thought that occurred to me while I was showering yesterday. It went something like this, “What the H happened to self care over the holidays?”

This also came with other thoughts like, “How did I not notice the shampoo bottle was running out?” “Do I even have time to shave my legs?” ” Is there even a razor?” “I feel lucky to even get a shower” “How did I let my roots get this bad?” “I can’t believe I went to three Christmas parties with my roots looking like this.” “My basement looks like a bomb went off down there.” “I’m feeling run down” “I am getting sick.” “I am overstimulated.”

My big thought today is “Do I dare hand out my neighbor gifts the day after Christmas? “Can I give them to my neighbors for New Year’s Eve instead?” Neighbor fail! It could be like the second wave of holiday treats.

My neighbors know I am a hot mess. I tried to avoid these scenarios. I thought our holiday Amazon party would help with the time spent shopping. It did for non food items, but what really knocked me for a loop this holiday season is that I got a new puppy on December 19th.

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I was dreading December 19th. I may have mentioned a few times that last year  I had a family member die on December 19th. This year, I thought my cat and I would be spending our last Christmas together but she only made it to mid December.

Now, all three of my geriatric pets are gone. All of whom I acquired after I married my husband five years ago. I was completely new to cats but they grew on me. I did reach the conclusion that if given the choice, I am definitely a dog person. Losing the dog was by far the hardest for me and my family.

I have definitely come to the conclusion over the last few months that my children would be doing so much better if we had an emotional support animal. My son with autism definitely needs a furry companion. He endures a lot of teasing at school and his fair weather friends have all but abandoned him. My daughter Ember also seemed a lot more well adjusted when there was a dog in the house. My thoughts went from “how can I get a dog?” to “how can I NOT get a dog?”

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I have been asking my husband about a dog for over a year now. My piano is a shrine to our old dog. My son still goes out to our old dog Roxy’s grave and talks to her. It all seemed appropriate, but aroused questions about when do we move forward with a new dog?

Replacing Roxy too quickly did not seem appropriate and I did not want to rush into anything that was emotionally charged. Our cat was the oldest survivor of our pet threesome so my thoughts were when she went, we would get a dog. Then she went, and I still did not bring up a dog, but my husband did.

We knew Christmas was coming and that a new dog was on the children’s wish list. I was stunned when my husband brought it up because he resisted all year. I was stunned I hadn’t brought it up because the cat had just died but really that is why I did not bring it up…the cat had just died. It just felt really weird and off to not have a pet in the house.

My husband said, “Why don’t you browse the classifieds and see if you can find us a dog?” I was amazed that I did not jump on it, but later in the day I submitted to the offer, “alright I will just look at the dogs” That is when I saw a dog that caught my eye. The dog had the cutest little eye patch and spotted fur.

In my husband’s mind he wanted a smaller herding dog, in my mind I wanted a big fluffy Pyranees. My daughter wanted a dog with dots that she could call Dottie. My son just wanted a dog. This dog was half border collie, half pyranees, and had spots on her legs. I thought, “Hmm…interesting.”

I also prayed for a dog that would be the right fit for our family  and with the right temperament. My husband came home and I waited for him to bring up the dog business just to make sure he was serious. He finally mentioned he had browsed dogs while he was at work and that he did find one. I said, “I found one too, show me yours and I will show you mine ” I was shocked to find out that we had both picked the same dog.

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So that night I texted the owner and she said, “I only have two girls left, one, my brother was going to take, but his landlord won’t let him have her.” I texted back, “So I assume the one with the cute little eye patch is gone?”

She said, “yes, I am sorry ” We then made plans to meet the next day. She could only meet between eleven and four, and she had a man coming to look at the dogs at eleven, so we met at eleven thirty. I had no idea if she would be bringing one dog or two.

That night, I read up on the breed. My heart was troubled because Roxy was a troublesome dog. She loved us but she hated everyone else. She was the best and worst dog ever. As much as I loved Roxy I did not know if I could do another Roxy. She was volatile with others and a liability. She had been neglected and abused and I think we got her as far as she was willing to go when it came to outsiders.

Part of me felt comforted like if I could take on Roxy I could take on any dog, I already earned those wings. I never told anyone but before Roxy died, I looked in her face, because I knew how much she meant to my children. I asked her if she could lead me to the right dog who would care for my children and family as much as she did. I then thought, “How dumb. I am making requests of a dog that can’t even understand me.”

After Roxy died I decided I would not actively look for another dog, but hoped the right dog would come to me. So anyways, I met the puppy owner in the parking lot, and she had only one dog with her. My son and husband even warned me about getting the first dog I looked at.

I held her, and my heart melted. I literally cried. I realized through the news that the night before was December 18th, a somewhat remarkable day, because it was the day our president was impeached. Then it hit me, “I can hardly believe it. I will be meeting  this dog on the nineteenth, the day Kelly died. The very day I had been dreading this whole season ” I woke up with a heavy heart, but holding that dog in the parking lot on the 19th felt like something I had been needing for a long time.

I was a little taken back when I thought “So you were the last of the litter, the last pick.” I than thought about my son who is also always the last pick and how this could only be our dog. There were really no other choices, everything lined up so I would be meeting this ONE dog. I have always felt like Kelly has been trying to make this holiday up to me because last year his decision to end his life threw a wrench into so much. There has kind of been a comforting calm to this season I can’t explain. This season has definitely felt “guided” like someone else was controlling the reigns.

I made arrangements to get the dog later with my husband at five and he was bringing some money. I had racing thoughts because I knew a dog was a big responsibility. My husband was having second thoughts. I told him “It’s not really a done deal until we get the dog and exchange the money. We can still back out.” In all honesty, I thought my husband would.

My children had been texting me all day. They were trying not to be excited but I could see they were excited. They had both told me they did not think they could love a dog as much as Roxy.

When we got to the parking lot, my husband’s apprehensions dissipated. My children’s fears about loving another dog, or me picking the right dog disappeared. It was love at first sight for all of them. The dog was somewhat bashful and when she was held up she had a look on her face that could only remind me of Simba on the Lion King. We asked a few more questions and the dog came home with us.

Her timid nature did not change for a few days. I was starting to worry. She hid out in corners. She hid behind the fireplace. She stayed in her Kennel. I would walk to the kitchen, she would step outside her kennel, I’d go back in the room, she’d run back in the kennel. I was afraid she was already showing signs of being a guarded dog who could become an aggressive dog. She would whine when she did not have attention. She was apprehensive when she did have the attention. She did not know what she wanted. I slept outside her kennel for three nights.

Finally, I decided to arouse her curiosity and I wrapped presents outside her crate. This always interested the cats. I made sure I crinkled the paper extra loudly and I curled the ribbon very dramatically in extra long strands right within her scope of vision. The dog would just cock her head to the side and watch me.

I finally left the room for a minute, and noticed that some little thief had taken a spool of my ribbon back to her kennel. “I was like A-HA! You are a regular puppy!  After that she would venture out of the kennel for longer periods of time and I noticed her tail wagging, then the rambunctious chewing episodes started, which also reminded me that she was also a regular puppy. The Christmas tree and her did not jive.

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She did mope after I took the tree down on Christmas night because she  liked to hang under the safety of it’s branches. The tree was also becoming her favorite chewing obsession. She hung back in the corners again, but it had to be done. She is developing a love for outside and exploring. She loves people watching.

Anyway, I have no idea about her little personality yet. What is all her and what is all transition I can’t really say. I can tell her favorite blanket and favorite odd sleeping position. Like Roxy, she likes to hang out with me on the floor while I apply cosmetics or fix my hair. She does not hate the doorbell, and the garbage man is an intriguing mystery.

Anyway, this is why self care went out the window and I have attended three Christmas parties with my roots showing. I am stiff from sleeping on the floor, and moderately sleep deprived because I’ve been getting up with the dog. All the people I have interacted with have interacted with a a lot of other people. Cold and flu season. It could only lead to here. I don’t think I could do anymore holidaying, hosting or entertaining. I hit my limit with my last trip to the store and the last few Christmas carols.

I would not change a thing with the new puppy, but four days before Christmas was a chaotic time to transition as a new dog mom and I hope my neighbors forgive me when they get their New Years treats. Overall though, there really is something magical about a Christmas puppy.

My children named the puppy Yoko and abandoned the name Dottie, double dots, or DeeDee. She goes by Yoko, Yokie, loco Yoko, Yoko Cabana, the Yokester,and the family favorite, Yoko puffs. I told my children to prepare for sly remarks about Yoko breaking up the Beatles.

We named a chicken Yolko Ono and for some reason they just felt the name fit the dog too. They just like the name, the Beatles connection, and they enjoy all things Japanese especially anime. Yoko is a common name in Japan which can mean sun god or moon god. I did tell them that “Give Peace a Chance” was Yoko. That was her voice. Even Paul McCartney said so. We can appreciate that.

Anyway, I shall wrap up this post about the Christmas puppy. I have ordered a few items to get the sheep camp “show ready.” So this shall be my next project. My husband put so much work into our sheep herder’s hut and I can’t wait to camp in it again, with coffee percolating, wood on the stove, and a hearty stew steaming in bowls of speckleware.

Somehow, this new sheepdog of ours just fits right into the picture. How could she not? I am sure there will be more puppy updates in the future.

Have a Happy New Year!

Rachelle Whiting

 

 

 

 

 

 

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