August 21, 2019, I flew home from Germany. After an exhausting three-hour drive home, I arrived to my elderly dog hemorrhaging. Within an hour, my husband and I took him to the emergency vet and my beloved Loki was put to sleep. I dug my hands into his fur as his great, wonderful heart stopped beating. I just kept telling him that I loved him.
I still do.
It’s been nearly four years of just Leia, our rescue dog who found my husband and jumped into his car. I love that silly dog. She is so smart and wonderful and loyal. She begs for bits and pieces of my peanut butter sandwiches. She stretches out along my legs and sleeps between my husband and me. She is a continual presence in our lives.
My daughter is currently in Spain and will be there until the end of May. I struggle with saying no to her as it is. But she’s homesick right now which means Fix-It-Mom is on constant patrol. This morning, I awoke to texts about a friend of hers who lives about 15 minutes away who needs to re-home a puppy.
God bless it.
And there was a picture too. Of an adorable pup resting in this young woman’s arm, the pup’s foreleg stretched out. Tiny paw splayed.
My heart just sort of flubbed and flopped a little.
Of course, the daughter is asking if we can get the dog. And I just want to say yes. And no. And why the hell are you doing this to me because I want a dog. I want a puppy. I’ve been wanting another dog since we moved but we didn’t for various and sundry reasons.
I showed my husband a picture of the dog, expecting a scoffing snicker. Nope. Moreso a sense of expectation. A sense of curiosity. The decision was laid in my lap. We can get the pup if I want. He’ll do his best to help but with 11-hour work days, it’s hard for him to have much time for anything.
I want the dog but don’t want to give up my heart. I don’t want to fall in love with animals anymore because everything is so temporary and I have a small tower of animal ashes from when my pets died and I had them cremated and I have wooden boxes with their ashes. And I don’t know what to do. I loved my Loki. I still do. I have his pictures on my phone’s background, on my bulletin board. I miss him a lot.
And the idea of the puppy is wonderful too. But I know that puppyhood is temporary so no I will not romanticize the entire thing. I do not relish the idea of house-breaking. Or training. Or preventing chewing. Or making sure the dog isn’t getting into everything because I live in a beautiful 120 year-old Queen Anne home that is fully renovated and has lovely furniture. I don’t need to have the nightmare of “what is the dog doing now?” And I will not just dump a dog outside and pretend that it’s fine.
Throughout the day, my daughter has been texting me with potential names. Questions about whether or not if I have made a decision. I felt like I couldn’t concentrate on editing because my phone kept doing the single “what’s app” buzz to announce yet another text.
The dog is cute and adorable and is apparently very sweet. She (yes, she is a female) will grow to be close to a hundred pounds. Which suits me fine. I still have some things that belonged to Loki that could be used for this pup. But I still don’t know. I just don’t know.
My heart is on a pendulum which wearies me, hence why I am Hamleting this. To dog or not to dog? That is the question.
She would make a great hiking and camping partner.
She would have to be trained.
She would be a great companion to Leia.
She might make walking her and Leia a chore (120 pounds of dog pulling against me).
She would make my daughter happy.
My daughter isn’t living at home anymore (what with university and future and all).
She would make me happy.
She would wear me out with not stressing that she’s not destroying the house.
She would make me happy.
She would make me anxious.
Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock.
And so the pendulum swings.
Update: puppy is no longer available for adoption. She is staying with her litter mate. I’m relieved the decision was made. And find myself wanting her even more.