It is 10:00 at night and I am out walking the dog to do his business before we go to bed. Sometime between 5:45 and 6:15 am, I’ll be up to walk him again. I remember being so upset with my mother when she refused to get another family dog after our Keeshond, Niki, died. Now those words ring in my ears every day. I wish that she was still alive so that I could tell her I understand now.
We actually have two dogs and a cat. The cat is very independent. All I have to do is feed him.
The dogs, well, we have had James, another Keeshond, for 12 years. We didn’t choose him. He kind of came to us. My brother decided that my parents needed a dog, but my parents, especially my mother did not want another one. She wanted to travel and do things. She knew that a dog would prevent that and so he came to live with our growing family in our new home. James was so easy. If we let him out, he stayed by the house and came in when he was called. Our neighbor would take him whenever we traveled. Unfortunately, age has been creeping up on him. So my husband started to mention the idea of getting the puppy. We did not have James when he was a puppy and truthfully even if we did the kids would be too young to remember him at that age. I knew I was in trouble. Then he mentioned the wish to his younger brother. I just shook my head. I tried to explain my position. I finally was free from small children. I did not want to get tied down with pets. But I knew my pleas were falling on deaf ears. His brother, whose partner shows dogs, began the search. I kept trying to say. We weren’t looking yet. We would be looking after our current dog passed away, which might be years from now. Then the call came in. His brother was at a show out in Missouri and there was a Bernese Mountain Dog puppy available – four months old. When the first pictures arrived by email,
I knew it was all over. Spartacus Maximus, Max, came home a few days before Christmas.
Max is the cutest, most adorable dog ever. He doubles size almost every month. I can’t even pre-buy his heartworm and flea & tick supplies in advance, because he can jump to a new weight class from one month to the next. Now my life, along with the regular “mom” stuff includes grooming dogs (having it done professionally for one is one thing for two, it is too expensive), unending vacuuming, repeated visits to the vet, and constant dog walking. Unlike James, Max doesn’t do as well without a leash. We have spent more than a few hours chasing him down or just hoping he will come home. His favorite game, when he gets loose, is to hide in the woods. He stands so that he can see you, but so that he thinks you can’t see him. It is the doggy version of hide and seek.
But just as I thought, I am completely strapped to the house. When my husband travels, I can’t go with him. When we want to plan a day out, I have to think about how long the dog can last without going out. I have to get up earlier than I would like to walk the dog in the morning and when my husband is traveling, I can’t go to bed as I please, I have to wait until I walk the dog for the last time. And worst of all, since we are moving, we won’t have the family and friends around to help out on those rare occasions when it is just impossible for us to get back.
I now know exactly what my mother meant and I know why God makes puppies so cute – just like babies.