Here is our first guest post response to our pet story writing prompt! This comes from Annie R. We love it!! Thanks for sharing Annie!
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My husband and I have three furry children, stair-stepped in age with our not so furry children. Our “oldest” is our beagle Griswold. (Much like the naming of a new child, Aaron and I thought about what we wanted to name our bouncing baby boy. We came up with a solution and agreed that any pets in our future should be named after movie characters. Both of us being National Lampoon fans, this was a great name for us. ) We got Grizzy when I was six months pregnant with our first child. Griswold took to Aaron and I with great love and affection. He was easy to potty train and slept in a coca cola blanket between Aaron and I, in the crook of my arms every night. Much like our first child we were afraid to leave him home alone for long periods of time and often had to call in a puppysitter when we were gone for too long. Once Joshua started to make his presence known in my belly, Griswold would sit in my lap with his front paw so protectively over my stomach. Once Joshua made his way out of my womb and into the world, Griswold’s perspective on this not so hairy, constantly crying, little human, changed. He didn’t want to have anything do with him. Much like an older brother, Grizzy fought to get our attention and maintain his dominance in our household. With much grumbling he gave in and started to accept his newfound position in the family. He even used to “crawl” beside Joshua on the floor once Joshua was more mobile.
When Joshua was a year old, Aaron and I had talked about making another addition to our family…..a more hairy one. I had always grown up in a home with at least two dogs and had always dreamed of having a Golden Retriever. (most girls dream of picket fences) Alas, one Saturday in Springfield, Aaron had a softball tournament and in between games we went to PetSmart to “look” at the shelter puppies that are always there. It just so happened that there were three Golden Retriever puppies, two were already adopted. Aaron told me no. Thus began one of the less proud moments I’ve had in my life where I pleaded and begged (I MAY have even stomped my foot once or twice) and fought for Aaron to let me have this dog. He gave in and we wound up coming home with our new son Maverick (not the Top Gun character, the Mel Gibson poker playing character to clarify). Maverick was a wonderful dog from the beginning. He slept at the end of our bed all the way through the night and was so patient with Joshua (who was toddling at this time) even when he would sit on him and yank Maverick’s tail to oblivion.
All seemed right in our world but soon enough we wanted more chaos, so we had Noah. Noah was a big adjustment to our household. When I came home from the hospital with him, not only was Joshua not speaking to me or having anything to do with me, but now Griswold would grumble everytime I came near him. Aaron was working two jobs at this time and Maverick would stand guard day and night over Noah’s crib. Anytime Noah would cry, Maverick would come and get one of us out of bed. I tell Noah now, that the reason he has red hair is because Maverick shed too much when Noah was in my belly. (Their shade of hair is frighteningly similar if you look closely). Maverick and Griswold soon and adjusted and it seemed all was right with the world….until mommy got the itch.
Let me just defend myself here a little. Being in a house with three male humans and two male dogs, does something to a woman. There is a need to level the playing field a little bit. I wanted a girl so bad it was ridiculous. Aaron said no to anymore children and so I put my foot down (not AS bad as with Maverick but close) and we adopted Zoey (from I Love You Man), our puggle. She was and still is a challenge. She barks for no reason, gets out of the fence to socialize with the neighbor dogs and drives Aaron mad. (He’s her favorite and she sleeps on his pillow and shoulder whenever she can. Don’t let him tell you different..but he secretly loves her).
I tell you this lengthy story because of this. My dogs have grown up with my kids, my husband and myself. They have literally been there for us for the past almost 10 years. They have taught me almost as much as my children have about who I am as a person, a wife and a mother. They have taught me patience in teaching and potty training with them and my children. They have taught me joy in seeing my husband and kiddos come through the door at night and to see their shining faces in the morning. They have taught me the ability to put my own needs on hold for someone else (especially when you have to pee at 3 am in the morning). They have protected me and my family in times of danger. They have shared in the joyous moments and they have listened intently, patiently and without judgment in the moments when I just needed them to listen to me cry. They’ve been there for me when I felt the most alone and reassured me that I am a good mom when the frustrations of motherhood had gotten me down on my knees. They have seen us through marital problems They have made me stay in this moments I most wanted to leave. They’ve cuddled my kids when they’ve been sick and are teaching my kids responsibility as young men now and showing them what it is to take care of someone else. Much like my kids I’ve spent many nights just sitting back and watching them play with one another and bask in the joy. So at night when our grumpy old man Grizzy comes into our bed, lays down in the crook of my arm with those sweet beagle eyes looking up at me, I always say “Remember when it was just us Grizzy”…..because I remember, and I remember how wrong people are when they say dogs are not family. (He usually just responds with a sigh or a snore)