When I was growing up in Michigan, we never had any pets. My mom told us she was allergic to fur. It was only when I got older that I suddenly had the realization that my mom wore fur coats when I was growing up. Like, all the time. And I realized that the real culprit was my dad, who really just doesn’t like dogs.
And so, I grew up with neither a fondness for nor a real desire to have a dog. When Craig and I first got married, we decided to get a dog to test our skills as parents. We went to the local puppy mill and got a beagle/lab/terrier mix. Or so that’s what we were told she was. We named the girl dog Oscar (’cause we love the movies! poor dog was doomed from the start), and we noticed our dog seemed to also be part crazy. She bit several neighbors and a friend but the real kicker was when she bit a chunk out of my foot while I was holding a newborn Sam. Goodbye, Oscar: we didn’t like you…we really really didn’t like you.
So we focused on parenting kids for a while and then when Lauren was 3, we got Alex, a soft coated wheaton terrier, who was very sweet, but loved to jump and pull on the leash during his walks. When Sam was 7 and Lauren was 5, Alex got hit by a car when he dashed into the street at the sight of a bunny. It was horrible, happened right in front of the kids, and Craig vowed at that moment to get the kids another dog.
Now, I was 8 months pregnant with Aidan and assumed he meant we would get another dog sometime. But, no, Aidan was 2 months old, and Craig came home with Cosmo, an 8 week golden retriever. And I hated him. Not Craig (although I REALLY hated him for getting the dog while I was recovering from a C Section), but I hated Cosmo. I hated the responsibility of another creature to take care of. So I really just completely detached myself from him. Wouldn’t pet him and crated him whenever I could, especially at night.
And he grew into the sweetest, most wonderful dog ever. And when we moved into our new house 2 1/2 years ago, I still hated him. The kids were 2, 7 and 9 and I was busy. I was busy decorating the house and taking care of the kids. Each kid picked out what their room should look like. Lauren, turquoise and black; Aidan; blue and white stripes, and Sam wanted to sleep under the lights of Broadway. So, our painter painted each of their requests and we had a special mural done of Broadway for Sam to sleep under every night.
And then, last spring, we got Molly, a Yorkshire Terrier dog for Lauren. A tiny dog for her to cuddle with, which is what she wanted for her 9th birthday. Molly was 18 months old and already potty trained and great with the kids. And Cosmo and her were best friends right away. They played and slept and ate together. They cuddled during the day and Cosmo was her buddy at night. And then, 3 months later, a coyote jumped over our fence and stole Molly. In a minute, she was gone. It was awful. We were devastated. But the one that took it hardest was Cosmo.
He cried at night and was just so sad. He didn’t want to go on walks and was really depressed. And it was then I fell in love with my dog. I watched how gentle he is with all kids and how loving he is to everyone that comes by. I watched Aidan fall asleep literally right on top of him like a pillow, and how he lets the kids ride him like a horse. He never growls and he just is so well behaved. And so, I started hanging out with him and petting him, walking him, and eventually, sleeping with him. And now, I cannot fall asleep unless he’s right next to me. I love this dog.
So now, tonight, as we enter 2013, I am thinking about how things can change. Tonight, Sam will be sleeping under his fake Broadway lights one more night before the real thing starts tomorrow. And I’ll be cuddling Cosmo, thinking how sad I will be to be away from him for even one minute. Who knew, when we moved in here, how much things could change? How much things could really really change. Life is surprising and amazing. Happy New Year.