We said goodbye to our dog Keyane this week. He was our first baby. He was the one who taught me what it was to be a mom. This is something I wrote nearly 10 years ago, and I’m happy to say I was finally right about something! We had an amazing 14 years together. My son is lucky our puppies had me well-trained in my mom role before he came along. I’m glad he got to spend a few years with them both.
Written on Mother’s Day, 2009 – I have two Australian Shepherds that are my babies. A male and a female, both around five years old. I got the male first, as a puppy, and the female later as a 1-2 year old rescue. Between the two of them they have tried my patience to the end of earth but also shown me an unconditional love and taught me what it means to love, care for another little being that completely depends on me and be responsible for their development and discipline. They have changed me in many ways and this list could be much longer. Whether we have non-fur babies or not, these two have always made me feel loved, proud and mostly, like a “mommy.”
1) I have developed Super-Mom hearing. I can hear the faintest “gluck-gluck-gluck” noise in the middle of the night, wake up from a dead sleep and rush to help the vomiting dog and then clean it all up before going back to bed.
2) I am now used to dealing with poop up close and personal on a daily basis. My dogs have a long “skirt” of hair on their back ends. I have had to hose off and wipe many bottoms. I just hope I never have to pull floss out of the baby’s butt or find a stick to pluck off a dingleberry in the middle of a walk.
3) I have discovered my “mother voice.” It’s much louder and more authoritative than my usual voice. This voice means business! You better sit! On the other end is the “mommy voice” which is very sweet and cooing.
4) I have developed a complete disregard for my own safety when their life is at stake. I have jumped in front of a speeding car waving my arms like an idiot because the dog ran into the street. When the boy stuck his head in a pile of fire ants, I used my hands to wipe them off his face all the while getting stung myself.
5) I learned you can’t take you eyes off them for a minute. The aforementioned fire ant incident took place on a walk. The boy was just a pup, nosing around, getting into everything. I turned my head to stare at something across the street, turned back around and he looked up at me with a face just alive with red squirming ants. They were in his eyes, his mouth and starting to crawl down his head. I got every single one of those awful things off of him and smothered him with kisses.
6) I have learned to temper my anger. I don’t believe in beating animals to make them mind. When the little girl went through bad separation anxiety after my husband was deployed, we worked through the wave of destruction that followed.
7) I learned how to be a disciplinarian and a teacher. I took both dogs to obedience class and we practiced at home. Both were the stars of the class because I spent a lot of time working with them. People often remark on how our boy is better behaved than their children. Our little girl, being a rescue, is still a little wild.
8) If you have a boy, you can’t be scared of a little penis. I had the boy about a week when we went for a walk in the woods. He ended up getting absolutely covered in ticks. I thought I got them all off until later I saw he seemed to be chewing on his crotch area. When he rolled over, I saw it. He had a tick. It was on his tiny puppy penis. I was impressed how trusting he was as I gripped the little appendage with one hand while going at it with tweezers. I think we grew a little closer that day.
9) Things will get messed up, get over it. I’ve had my favorite shirts and shoes destroyed. We had to get a new rug after a bad bout of stomach issues. Our nice suede couch is covered in hair and dog snot. In comparison to what the dogs give us in love and bring us in happiness, it’s nothing.
10) A house feels more like a home when it is filled with love. I’m pretty sure coming home to happy little kids is a great thing. I’ve never seen two more happy kids than those furry faces that lose their minds every time I come home. Even if I’m only gone five minutes. They make me smile, they make me happy and I think they will be a great big brother and big sister when the time comes. (* and they were)