Friday, January 11, 2013

Now I have a dog story

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!

P.S. Joe is the one with the big smile!


Gerri said...

Lab mixes are the best! I've had a couple of them over my life time and they have the best temperment. So happy that Lily found her forever home with your beautiful family :) I will be praying for her speedy recovery. So glad to see you back in bloggy land! You always make me smile :)

Vicky said...

Wow- how the kids have grown Kelly! And Lily- oh precious girl- what a sweetie. Fingers crossed the meds work and she comes through okay :) Miss you too- hope you come back and share more with us!

Mari said...

we go a chocolate lab when our kids were young. He was a great dog. Lily looks like a sweetie and I hope the med work!

Gail Dixon (Louisiana Belle) said...

Labs make great family pets. Excellent choice! So sorry she is HW positive, but it sounds like it was caught in time. Bless her heart. Such sweet family pics. Dogs make everything better in my book. It's worth cleaning up the extra hair!

shabby girl said...

Great choice! She's lovely, too.
I think there are such important lessons for kids when the responsibility of a dog comes along. Some great, some sad, but most always involving love!

Valerie said...

You can't go wrong with a labrador... my favourite breed. They have such lovely natures. We had two yellows and loved them to bits. You're right, Kelly, they do unite a family.

Jenners said...

You guys did need a dog. Have you ever seen those bumper stickers" "Who rescued who?" It sounds like this is the case for your family. I hope she pulls through the heartworm treatment OK, Keeping my fingers crossed.

Teresha@Marlie and Me said...

That is an amazing story! Dogs are more than pets, they are great healers. Praying for Lilly's good health!

T Rex Mom said...

Canine members of the family are still members of the family. I am not surprised this sweet rescued soul has charmed her way into everyone's heart. I am glad you all have each other and we will say prayers that she makes it through the tough treatments.

I recall encountering a dog at the vet's who was undergoing treatment and the owner said she was pretty grumpy and not her sweet self so we should keep our distance. That is about all the experience I have but I suppose don't be surprised if she is grumpy during treatment. Hang in there and I am so glad she is part of your family.

Welcome back to blogging, by the way. We have missed you.

#1Nana said...

That's great. I have moments when I miss having a pet, but they pass and we remain pet free.

glnroz said...

oh my goodness,,,this reminds me of "Beauty", a black lab (and i think cocker spaniel mix),,perfect dog,,,she understood everything you said to her...You made the right have you been?

The Write Girl said...

Wow, I am so happy for Joe and the rest of the kids! You guys look happy. Hope the doggie stays healthy and Happy 2013!

Joy said...

I love dogs! I've had a Lhasa Apso, a Dachshund and the last one was a Golden retriever. After Heidi (the retriever) died after a long and painful fight with cancer, I wasn't able to get myself another dog. It was too painful. However now I think I am ready for another dog and I'm planning to get one soon.
Hope Lily's progressing well.

Anonymous said...

Isn't it amazing how dogs endear themselves to us? We have 13 year old dog now that is in declining health. He was there during the years of all of our kids (who are now gone) were growing up. We are keeping him for as long as we can! We did get another pup to keep him company a few years ago, but I think the old dog still prefers to have the place to himself! Hope your dog will be ok.


Kim said...

I love this. She looks like such a sweetheart. I always love hearing about people falling in love with dogs - I know how much you can love one and it is an amazing love. xoxo

Michelle said...

It is amazing how the right thing pops up and finds you sometimes instead of the other way around. Bummer on the heartworm, but so happy for you that you found it in the early stages. Congrats on the addition to your family!