The R Word
Responsibility is a funny thing. As they age, we want our children to become more responsible. Our job as parents is to raise them and prepare them for the world outside of our protective circle. My oldest child is about to get her driver’s license. A scary thought indeed! If we are about to trust her with a vehicle, shouldn’t we trust her with a puppy?
For her 16th birthday, my daughter did NOT ask for a car. Instead, she asked for a tiny puppy. First, we spent weeks searching breeds to find what she wanted that would fit with our lifestyle and other pets. Second, we searched all the local shelters for months to see if they had any mixed breeds with the breeds she was looking for. Finally, we found her.
Yes, I said it. A puppy! After years of older dog and young dogs past the puppy stage, our house has an honest to goodness puppy. I had forgotten how much work they are. The late-night whining and so many checkups, last but not least, the house training. She is so adorable to watch and my daughter loves her. I will admit, I will be happy when the puppy phase passes and she moves into the young dog phase.
We have been lucky, they are all adjusting well together. With a shelter dog, you are able to introduce everyone in advance. Not so with the pet store. It is funny to see all three dogs together now. Our oldest is nearly 14 years old and he is a shaggy white dog. Our second dog is a nearly two-year-old boxer mix. If you were to cross them, you would have the new puppy. She has the coat and colors of our boxer mix but with long hair. She has been so wonderful with the puppy and leads her around, teaches her how to properly shake a toy and is just like a mother to her.
D O G the Cat
We also have an awesome cat we have raised since he was a one-day-old orphan. He is very sweet and loves the dogs. I honestly do not think he is aware they are different breeds. He is larger than our 3-pound addition. He never fails to astound me with how gentle he is with her. He is patient and watches her, he rolls around with her on the floor but never lets out his claws. It is as if he knows how small she is and wants to protect her. He is showing his own responsibility for her early training and accepting her into our family. This cat so in tune with my daughter and shares a birthday with her. Yet, after 2 years with him, he still astounds me with his personality and intelligence.
This may seem to be random rambling but, I do have a point there. As parents, we have opportunities and it is up to us to seize them when they come. Exhausting as the puppy can be, she is a great learning experience for my daughter. Not only are they bonding and making lifelong friends but, she is learning responsibility for another tiny precious life. We have always had pets around since before she was born. As she has grown, it has gone from dogs and cats to include a rabbit and a hamster, even a few fish over the years. But, with Annie, this is our first puppy. This is my daughter’s tiny shadow and a window into responsibility for more than just herself.
Take for Granted?
It is easy to look at an animal and see just an animal. To do so would be taking everything they have to offer for granted. We have three dogs and each is so different in looks and personality. Two cats, again, each is different in their looks and personality. Even the rabbit, he is moody and packed with personality and his own fluffy charm. Our hamster is always fun to watch, she is a little beggar for sunflower seeds and such a daredevil about climbing the bars of her cage. Animals may seem like just animals but, when you let them in and open your heart, they give back so much in love, trust and absolute faith in us. They know when we are sad and offer comfort. They entertain us, join us and complete us in ways we didn’t know were incomplete.