Marriage: check. Build our first home: check. Get a dog: CHECK! But as you can see, we came home with two puppies instead of one!
We fell head over heels in love with these two little fur-balls of joy and were beyond ecstatic for our new role as “parents.” We named “Bailey” for his coloring that resembled the yummy Irish liqueur, and “Scooter” got his name because it matched his personality. Our two little boys had no idea of the outpouring of love they were in for…
Our new family
And so we lived and breathed life with our new dogs. “The Fellas” we called them. We watched movies with them—on opposite ends of the couch—one on each of our laps. We took Sunday afternoon naps with them, snuggled up in bed together; their warm tummies breathing in and out with ours. And we taught them tricks and games and held them close in our arms as we danced in our living room during the weekly “Saturday Night at the 70’s” radio show that we blasted through the speakers. The Fellas loved disco.
Neither of us grew up with dogs, but a love of dogs has always been in our hearts. Any dog we meet knows that we are their friend; they sense it instantly.
Bill loved to clown around with the dogs and create their bodies into “props” to make me laugh. His trick of choice was what we called “stackable dogs” where I’d be in the bathroom getting ready in the morning and everything was just a little too quiet to be kosher. So I’d glance over at the doorway, and there they were just inside the doorframe spying on me…stackable dogs—like hotel banquet chairs that stacked perfectly on top of each other for storage—watching me do my makeup (see photo below):
And then on the weekends we felt like we “should” be with the dogs because we had basically been away the entire week. As a newly married couple, our friends started to wonder what was up, and then so did we. Our lives didn’t feel balanced and it didn’t feel fair to the dogs, either.
The difficult decision
It was very upsetting for us to think about finding new homes for our precious cargo, but it was, as Wilford Brimley would say, “The right thing to do.” I remember the night before Bailey went to his new home–I held him close and cried. He looked up at me with the same look that a concerned best friend would give you. And as my tears fell, he softly and slowly brushed his cold little nose all across my face. In a way, he seemed to be vacuuming up my tears. I’ll never forget that moment.
We ended up finding two wonderful families to take on our little guys, and we have been lucky enough to receive holiday cards and photos from them throughout the years. Thank goodness we tried out dogs instead of kids! Kids aren’t quite as easy to pass along to another family.
We thought that having dogs in our lives was synonymous with following our joy. And it was. But for us, it just needed to look a bit different, and we had to be okay with that. Since we are a couple who loves to be independent and on the go, we realized that dogs don’t necessarily fit in with our chosen lifestyle.
So we make sure to get dogs in our lives in other ways! We are blessed to be godparents to two beautiful and wonderful Shelties, Sophie and Pursey, who go crazy every time they see us, and vice versa. How cool is that?
Making the best of it
At home, we have imaginary dogs that roam our place: “Pancakes,” the Golden Retriever puppy; “Waffles,” the elderly Basset Hound; “Fruit Loops,” the Dalmatian; and “Pedro & Poncho,” twin Chihuahuas that wear mini sombreros and tiny Mexican blankets over their shoulders. They are all low maintenance, great when we go on vacation, and easy to blame if something goes awry.
Life is never short on lessons. And I believe this one is that there is a season in life for everything. Things don’t necessarily have to be black and white, or look exactly like you planned. Someday we’ll have a dog (or two) again, but for now, our imaginary dogs fit the bill pretty well. Most importantly, we will always have the warm, special memories of our short time together with The Fellas.
Note: Check out this other great dog story about the pure joy that our furry friends bring to the world.