Who doesn’t love precious little baby puppies? So cute and cuddly, furry and friendly. We thought the same thing. So, we got a puppy. The cutest little thing you ever did see, and we named her Valentine. Shortly after, someone was rehoming another dog, so we took her in as a playmate for our sweet Valentine. We then had Valentine and Rose. It has been 12 years since those pups joined our family, and I cannot help but think: why did I get a dog?
Rose is 16 years old, is deaf and blind, but has a clean bill of health from the vet. Valentine became unwell this week and I had to take her to the vet only to discover she needed oral surgery to treat an infection before it became septic. She has been sick all week and her little eyes seem so sad. I had no idea she was in so much pain.
The news hit me hard. I mean I know they are senior pups, but the reality their health is failing is a really hard pill to swallow. The hurt and heartache I will feel with their loss is terribly heart breaking, and it hasn’t even happened yet. I hope it doesn’t happen for some time.
But I cannot help but ask myself, would I have gotten these pups if I had known the heartache I will one day face?
Yes. The answer is definitely yes.
So, why did I get a dog?
Please do not think this is a post glorifying pets at the level of humans. It is not. I love my pets, but I also know they are pets. But let’s face it: they do become like members of the family. My pups have been with me 12 years, that is longer than I have been married, longer than I have been a mom, and longer than most of my friendships with humans. I cannot really imagine life without them at this point.
Well here we are, in their senior years. They are smelly, no matter how often I bathe them. Their breath is deadly. I am constantly cleaning up after them. But they have loved me though some of my hardest years. They have been my shadow in the kitchen as I cook. They have snuggled me when I cried over a stupid movie or when my husband has made me mad. They never ever fail to welcome me at the door when I arrive home. They put up with a lack of attention when my son was born, and still loved me when I found my groove and gave them the attention they deserved later in that post-partum time, and with no malice or resentment. Just snuggles and smiling eyes happy to be pet and given a treat.
RELATED READING: Before We Had Kids We Had Pets…
Watching them age is hard. It can also be annoying to deal with, I won’t lie. But I chose to invite them into my life, so I hope I can provide them the love and compassion they deserve in their last years with me.
Valentine has surgery next week. I am a little worried. I know I will be ok no matter what happens to her, because death is a part of life, an unrelenting, harsh reality. But that is just part of it I guess. You bring those puppy eyes into your home and you have to accept they won’t be there forever.
But I am definitely not ready, whenever that time comes. I love my pups and I value the way they helped my house feel like a home. Why did I get a dog? I don’t have an eloquent answer for that, but I am glad that I have had the time with them that I have had, and treasure the time that remains.
BTW: I have had people tell I am letting my 16 year old dog suffer if she is that old and is blind and deaf. She has been blind and deaf for years. She has been to the vet for quality of life checks, and I have been advised she still well, just old.