It started with constant pleas from my then six-year-old son. He wanted a baby brother, and I didn't have the heart to tell him that was impossible. He was the only child in his class that didn't have a sibling. He was the only kid in his class that didn't have a pet. Wait back up? A pet, yeah that's doable, a companion that won't rack up college loans, or annually demand that we buy him a new PlayStation to keep up with the Joneses? It prompted me to blurt out, "Honey I can't give you a baby brother, but I can give you a puppy!" My son's eyes lit up like Aurora Borealis, with all the optimism of a Christmas morning when one gets what they really asked Santa for. We started right away googling dog breeds and looking at countless photos of puppies which prompted us to shout out numerous Oohs and Awws. Yes, a puppy is what my family needed, or was I just another nutty mom trying to please her overcompensated child. I could almost hear my Aunt in Maryland yelling "Who's in charge?"
After hours of research, more research than I've done on automobiles I've purchased, we concluded a Golden Retriever would make a great family dog. This was a dog that was gentle and playful and was able to keep up with my high energy child. Unfortunately, we were in for a rude awakening since they sold for a hefty three grand and up, and we couldn't find any Goldens at shelters. I continued to search on Craigs List, almost got scammed by a lady who promised to give me two Goldens for free, but wanted a 1,000 dollar rehoming fee wired to her ASAP, and then I found our dog on the back pages of Craig's List wearing a little red turtleneck. After my near miss with a scam artist, I was leary of another too good to be true offer, but thankfully Luke worked out. That was the name our son picked out for him. We let him decide since he was going to be Luke's big brother. I met Luke's parents and watched them play with their puppy. The last one to leave the lair. The runt of the litter, and clearly their favorite.
Initially, it was rough I'm not going to sugar coat it. Luke hopped right in our car and was ready to go home with us, but threw up about ten minutes into the drive. He cried the first two nights which resulted in my son to kicking Luke out of his room so he could get some much-needed rest. He threw up on my child as well, and there were a few accidents on the living room floor. It never rains in Southern California, but when we brought Luke home it rained for about two weeks straight.
Walking a dog in the rain, when you'd rather hang indoors why did I take this on? The answer is Love. We crate trained Luke, so early in the morning, around 4 am I would take him out for a walk. The stars lit up the cobalt blue sky, and I would admire the constellations and the moon. I found myself talking to Luke quite a bit the way I did with my son when he was a newborn. Luke was so tiny, and yearned to be held, caressed, and reassured like an infant. I would lay down on my chaise lounge on the balcony after our walks and cradle him in my arms and share with Luke all of my secrets about the world until we both dozed back to sleep. It was our time, before the morning rush.
My Child Became More Mature Caring for a Dog
When he was big enough Luke joined me and my son on our walk to school. My son grew up a little faster in those days since I could no longer walk him to his classroom, no dogs allowed. I couldn't hover over him to be sure he remembered lunch and homework, I just had to say my goodbyes at the entrance and watch him walk away blending in with the masses of other first graders. Initially Luke didn't understand farewells. The wolf pack stays together. Why is everyone leaving? He would bark and cry for my child and refuse to leave the campus, real Lassie stuff. Luke got what's most important in life, family. When my husband was sick, Luke forgoed his usual walk with me to stay close to his side. He curled up beside him with the confidence and knowledge of a wise sage.
There was something else that happened. I got to know my community. I have lived in the same home for a couple of years. We were always on the go, I looked at my house as a crash pad, but that changed with this little being. On our walks, we met neighbors, and other dog owners, We took in natural beauty like stopping to gaze at the thousands of parrots that live in our community a couple of months a year. I had been missing all of these things, and my son had this wonderful companion to play with, talk to, care for, and grow up with. Why did I take this on? Love, and my child guided me to this discovery. He saw the maternal yearning in my own heart, now our family was complete. We do everything together even photos with Santa. We've accepted the mayhem that comes with owning a forever puppy like Luke. He looks at me with heartache when I take out the trash. He puts his toys under the couch when I cook and barks for me to help him retrieve them. My son loves to slide down the steps in our home, at first Luke thought he was falling and would bite his shirt, and try to pull him back up the stairs. Luke had taken on the role of protector, and guardian of our little boy. When we drive in the car Luke sits in the back with my son and always puts his head on his lap happy as a clam. When my son has a timeout Luke predictably goes to his door and waits for him. When we give our son a hug, Luke joins in wrapping his paws around us as if to say "Group Hug!" We never realized what was missing until we found him. Do you still need me to answer the question about buyers remorse? I think you know the answer. Dogs give us everything, they give and they give, and they give, and if you pay attention you can learn from them.
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