Why I’ll be wearing black every day from now on. . .

I am a dog owner for the first time in my life. My girls and I drove to Connecticut to meet the van that held our new family member, all the way from Indiana.


We were at the end of the pick up line, and so we watched dog after dog come out of the van to meet his new owners.

Finally, Star came out to meet us. I wasn’t sure what to expect having seen only a couple of photos of her, but my first thought was, “Oh, she is so cute and so much smaller than I thought!” And then I thought, “ZOMG, she is STRONG! And can PULL!” as she dragged me across the parking lot.
The hour-and-a-half ride home was long, but, all things considered, awesome. No barking, no whining, no eating my minivan’s back seat despite all the food that is ground into it.
And now that she’s home, she seems so eager to please and to be a part of our family. On Twitter tonight, I joked “This dog already looks at me with way more devotion than any of my kids. She’s going to do wonders for my ego.”
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve thought of Jesse today, the dog I met years ago when I volunteered in an animal shelter. There is something in the goofiness of Star’s mannerisms, in the way she tries to jump up to kiss you—not a great behavior, mind you—and in her wish to be with a person all the time, that reminds me of the little shelter dog I loved so many years ago but couldn’t adopt.

Welcome home my silly, eager, slobbery* baby.

*have you ever seen a lab drink out of a water bowl? oy! good thing she’s cute!

Feelin’ Furry

At long last, we have made the decision to (finally) adopt a dog. 
We’ve been without a pet for almost a year, and the house is too fur-free and quiet without something on four legs getting under our feet. And though part of me wants to get a dog-bird-cat-chickens all at once and just deal with the madness, the other part of me is smart and knows better.
So, we’re adopting a dog. A little girl who is two years old and was found outside of the animal rescue center in a rain storm. The rescue group named her “Star” because they say a guiding star led her to them. A little biblical for my tastes, but I’ll go with it, and the kids seem to like it. And D can pronounce it, so that’s a plus.
Star will arrive from the midwest via some sort of doggie bus in about a week. In the meantime, I’ve been frantically emailing Tania for advice. I think she accidentally even offered to live here for a few weeks to train our new family member, so I’ll be driving by to kidnap pick her up right after we get our little Star.
I can’t wait to eat your shoes!

Oh, this will be fun. I’ve never owned a dog! Adventure! Dog hair! Someone who will love me unconditionally and never say “You Are The Meanest Mommy Ever!
Star, we can’t wait for you to join us.

The dog next door

My kids have wanted a dog for a really long time. But not as long as I have wanted one.

There have always been valid excuses: When I was younger it was that I worked really long hours, far from home. And then it was that I was too busy with three young kids. Finally, it was that my two–and then one–elderly cats needed to be let to pass on quietly, without the stress of a puppy in their lives.

As Cally, my beloved 19 1/2 year old cat, took her last low, rattly breaths, Jilly went over to say goodbye, patted her head, then looked up to me and asked plaintively, NOW can we get a dog?

Well, not just yet. Summer is too frenetic for us this year to make me want to bring in another family member. But soon after. . .

Fortunately for all of us, we have had a dog all along, just he’s not quite “ours”. He’s our next-door neighbor’s dog, a big black lab named Bailey. From the moment he appeared as a puppy, he has been part of our lives even if we don’t house him, feed him, take him to the vet or even walk him. (my husband says he is the perfect dog for these reasons)

Thankfully we have the best neighbors ever who don’t even blink an eye when they find one of us in their yard (again) playing/patting/talking to Bailey. They know if Bailey hops his electric fence after a deer or rabbit, that we’ll bring him home, happy that he is safe. Last week, Bailey even came into our cat-free home for the first time and I marveled at how huge he seemed in our kitchen. (mental note: I’ll need a smaller dog if I hope to keep my food from disappearing off the counters).

There is no question that Bailey loves us as much as we love him. If I call his name, he does the whole-body wiggle in anticipation of my visit, and last winter, after not seeing him for a while, he practically spoke to me as I crunched across the snow to say hello.

And if an unfamiliar car or stranger comes up our driveway, he will bark with the ferocity of the best guard dogs out there. Only our driveway, though, not his own. I doubt he’d do anything to a stranger other than lick them, but it always makes me feel a little safer when I hear his booming bark.

If all goes well, by the fall, we’ll have a dog of our own to love. But, one of the first things we’ll do when we bring our new bundle home? Introduce him to Bailey to insure that they become fast friends.