It all began in late August. My son, Joe, came home from visiting a friend's house, and he couldn't wait to share with me some sudden revelation that made his face shine with happiness. "Mom! Mom! I know what I want! It will make me happy! A dog!"
Well, to say that I was surprised is definitely an understatement. Joe has been afraid of dogs for as long as I can remember. Actually, three out of four of my kids have been afraid of dogs for a long time. Here is the back story about that fear. Almost 10 years ago, pregnant me (with Joe in the "belly" as Jillian would say) would waddle down the street to pick up my oldest son from the kindergarten bus which stopped at the top of our street. At that time, James was around 3 and jumping up and down next to me as we hustled to get to the bus stop each day. One day, we met "Happy" - don't let his name fool you - this dog was nowhere near the happy state of mind. Happy was a good size mutt who would have probably been just my type of dog if he didn't want to possibly wrestle me to the ground. So during our first meeting (gratefully from a distance), we realize that this dog is owner free and leash free. He starts barking aggressively at us but doesn't get too close. Over the period of a week, he gets closer and closer. I attempted to speak with the owner but he never seemed to be home. I left a handwritten note in his mailbox asking for him to keep his dog inside. Maybe it was my plea as a pregnant lady that pushed him to finally keep Happy indoors. Needless to say, James' fear of dogs cemented in his consciousness during that time.
When Joe came on the scene, we would see Happy from a distance and he wasn't acting all that happy. Well, Joe probably feeding off James' fear became afraid of dogs in those early carriage days. Jillian was afraid because she usually only feels comfortable around stuffed animals or zoo animals. My oldest John was worried about dog hair all over his stuff. My husband was concerned about the cost and limiting our mobility.
I love dogs, but I wasn't prepared for Joe's proclamation of his sudden desire to own one. My husband always said that he has four children and why would he want to add a furry one to the mix. Now the mama in me had a dilemma. How do I either convince Joe that a dog is not the answer to his need for something to make him happy or how do I convince James and Jillian that a dog will not freak them out every day in the house?
We tried bribery on Joe. We would say something like, "Joe, what about a swimming pool? (we can't afford one by the way) or "What about a trip?" He would say, "The dog can count for 10 birthdays and 10 Christmas presents."
Now when we would try to convince James that I would find the most peaceful, mellow dog out there, he would say, "Mom, if you get a dog, I will never ever be comfortable in my own house. You know that dogs make me nervous. What about my feelings?"
Joe has always been my sad sack kid. I have prayed so much to know what would make him happy. Well, God answered my prayers in a way different than I expected. I knew in my heart that having a dog could be a turning point for him.
Well, after much negotiation, begging and tears, I finally managed to get the whole family "pro-dog." An exhausting workout for me. I searched countless dog adoption sites and rescues.
We finally found Lily. She is a 4/5 year old black labrador mix. She has had some tough times. Amazingly, every one of the kids fell in love with her. I can't believe how much James has bonded with her in only 4 short weeks. She is my shadow and buddy during the day. Jillian feels that she finally has a big sister.
I know that this post is going on way too long. I just wanted you all to know what has been consuming my time these past months.
On Saturday, we received the distressing news that Lily is heartworm positive. Well, here I go with the tears again all weekend. More worry kicking in. Gratefully, she is in good physical health and the disease is in its earliest stages. The treatment and recovery period is tough. She has to receive her first painful injection on Tuesday morning. For 6 weeks after, I have to closely monitor her for complications and make sure that she doesn't have any exercise or excitement. There could be a threat of stroke or pulmonary embellism.
Overall, I am very optimistic after speaking with my vet. She feels that Lily will get through it all right.
We love her and we'll be here for her. The whole gang. We are closer as a family since getting Lily. I sweep up a bunch of dog hair now and love when she looks for her belly rubs. She needed a home, and apparently we needed a dog.
I'll keep you all posted on her progress, and you'll see me more in this wonderful blogging world because I need to stay still a bit too during her recovery period. I have to slow down once in a while. Miss you guys!