Friday, February 6, 2015

Magic in a Moment

My family and I are suffering from dog deprivation. While sharing life with a canine companion is not one of Maslow's basics, it has been essential for the past several decades for me, my husband, and then our children. Our children were born into a household that embraced our Cleopatra Marie (our black lab/golden) and Cecelia Francine (our black lab/German Shepherd).
My first middle schoolers participated in a democratic voting process to name my first puppy. At the time my husband and I were barraged with the typical, "So WHEN are you two going to have kids?" We boldly announced that we would see if we could care for, and keep the dog alive first and then kids--MAYBE. Two years after Cleo, I rescued Cecelia and the sisterhood of the furballs was born. Cleopatra grew into her name. She was a princess. Regal, proper and delicate she lightly padded about our home, could run for hours, assisted as a track coach, and swam with ease. Cecilia was a delightful corpulent canine who charged at life like a bull in a China shop (which was possibly our fault for gracing her with a name meaning "one who is blind.") Both dogs believed the children belonged solely to them and loved and tended them as such. This past December, at 13 years of age, Cecelia died in her sleep lying protectively between the kids' doorways. We fretted that Cleopatra may waste away of a broken heart without her sister, but after two days of mourning and moping, it was as though her fifteen year old dog self had amnesia. She continued to grace our home with regal love until March when living became too much for her, and we had to say goodbye. The house was quiet; too quiet. The silence splintered my heart every time I returned home and did not hear the padding of paws, or the excited whines of greetings.

The kids begged my husband and me for a dog, but we refused, knowing we were moving to Hanoi, Vietnam in July. Our new apartment was nice, but we rebuffed our kids each time they would ask for a dog. We just couldn't imagine a dog living in an apartment. 

A few weeks ago one of our friends let us know his dog had puppies, and we were welcome to come play with them. I firmly explained to my children that we would NOT be adopting a puppy, and our visit was just to soak up some puppy love. 

Oh did we soak up sweet puppy goodness! As our puppy park visit was nearing an end there were two little girls hesitantly observing. I asked them if they would like to hold a puppy. My daughter and I (somewhat reluctantly) handed off our pups to the arms of the little girls. Their mom strolled over and asked some questions of our friend. From there events developed rapidly. Soon our whole party was walking the family, now one puppy larger, to a nearby veterinarian's office. 

It isn't every day one has the honor of playing a supporting role in a "happily ever after." My daughter was being a good sport, but I could see the longing in her eyes. Our friend mentioned that he suspected his female dog was pregnant, but was not positive. My negotiating daughter quickly struck a deal with our friend and sealed it with a "pinkie swear" if his dog was indeed to be whelping. So for now we wait, still basking in the magic of that moment while awaiting our own.

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