A “Ruff” Decision

Dogs.  A Man’s best friend.  Charlie.  Dave’s best friend.  And I’m not kidding.  I was the one who scoured nextdaypets.com for days and days until I came upon our little dog Charlie, back in 2006.  Dave’s little annoying Jack Russell terrier was gone and my sweet golden retriever was dying of cancer.  I was only a few months away from having Spencer, so I desperately wanted to train a little puppy before the baby came.  (If anyone knew that I even put “trained” and “Charlie” in the same sentence, they might choke).  For as much as I begged Dave to agree to bringing home this little chocolate labradoodle (he was supposed to be 30 pounds and he is 90), Charlie ended up giving his loyalties to Dave and vise versa.  

The week before Dave died, the babysitter who watched the kids while I taught piano, mentioned that Charlie would start staring at the door from 4:45, until Dave walked through the door.  And the night before Dave died, while watching a movie, I remember Dave saying, “we are going to have to figure out a way to clone this dog.”  After Dave died, Charlie just hung out by the door, waiting and waiting and waiting, with the saddest face a dog could ever wear.  This was one sad puppy.  

A few months after Dave died, my sweet niece, Rachel moved in for a few weeks, (turned 18 months).  It wasn’t long after Rachel moved in, that Charlie’s loyalties turned towards her.  I remember the night that he followed her downstairs for the night, instead of following me to my room.  And that was that.  Charlie had a new BFF and it wasn’t me.  Charlie was now receiving neck ties, birthday cakes, baths, walks, pig ears and countless cuddles.  If I were Charlie, I wouldn’t leave Rachel’s side either!

But then, Rachel decided that she didn’t want to live with newlyweds?????  She was going to be moving out.  Where did this leave Charlie????  This was a “ruff” choice.  Should he stay or should he go?  I couldn’t figure out if Dave would want him to stay with me and the kids or to go with his niece.  Maybe this sounds like a ridiculous thing to pray about, but God went ahead and humored me.  Within two critical decision making days, I had a couple of conversations that ultimately led me to believe that Charlie belonged with Rachel.  Dave and Rachel always had a sort of Aldridge family connection.  And Charlie bonded with Dave and then bonded with Rachel.  All of the sudden the choice seemed pretty obvious.

I really do miss Charlie, but every time I get a picture of him from Rachel,  (I know this sounds CA-RAZY), but he seriously looks so happy.  I also think pets are good bonders for people and I keep thinking that while Tony wants a baby, (at this point, I only barely can manage the thought of another baby), maybe a puppy can fulfill some of that longing?????  Of course, Tony and I have desperately different opinions of the kind of dog to get, but I still think that it will be so fun to have OUR dog. I’m kind of holding out for a dog we can agree on.  I want a small, non-shedding, fuzzy, cute, sweet, puppy, while Tony wants a Siberian Husky, a Dachshund or a Doberman Pincher (that will never happen, BTW).  

So, any thoughts, anyone? Baby or Puppy?  (just kidding)  What kind of puppy should Tony and I get????????   

Megan’s Take: Oh My Gersh!! I am obsessed with these photos. The puppy. Dave and the puppy. Rachel and Charlie. Can’t. Handle. It. How can so many layers of emotions be packed into one human/canine relationship? It doesn’t totally make sense, but somehow these four-legged friends become like children. And many times, we might even like them more than our kids. Not me, of course. But some people. Even though Charlie is not my dog, it really does bring peace to my spirit to know he’s found a sweet home with Rachel. He is still connected to Dave in this way. Super sweet. Now, about the baby/puppy thing!! If I know you AT ALL, I’m thinking you’re only half kidding about the decision. But let me just be the voice of reason here. They BOTH need constant attention. Puppies just grow out of the tear-your-house-to-pieces stage quicker than babies, right? So, puppy it is. OR…DOG 🙂  We lucked out big time with our Yorkie/stuffed animal from Craig’s List. But if you must have a puppy, just do it now before you move into that gorgeous new home you plan to renovate. For reals.

Christina’s Take: 

24. That’s how many question marks were in your post, Holls! 24! This signifies something. 24 question marks means this is bold new territory for you. I, for one, think getting a dog is the perfect answer to the question: Should Tony and I have another baby? Lol. The decisions, the training, the feeding, the burden – all of it is so fun to think of the two of you (what am I saying, the SEVEN of you) mastering.

I have two very hairy black labs; one has asperger’s on the tennis ball spectrum and the other one likes to bite my red-headed blogger partners so clearly I’m an expert from whom you should take advice. 

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