On Wednesday last week, after two months of searching, learning, exploring and deciding, a twelve-week old puppy arrived on our doorstep. She was in the care of a foster mom at Labrador Rescue up in Queensland, having been saved from a shelter. I knew she was the one the moment I saw her photo and I pursued her, well, like a Labrador pursues anything. Doggedly, until she was ours, and we were hers.
She flew from Brisbane to Melbourne in the care of Jet Pets, and was handed to me (me who had never held a puppy before) in front of my house at 3:42 pm. The kids got home at 4:00. The cats? They were seen once or twice shaking their heads in dismay through the windows. I quickly captured and brought them in, so they wouldn’t disappear. They cowered in their laundry room, disbelief in their eyes.
Leila, the pup, is good as gold, and behaving exactly as a puppy should behave. In other words, peeing on the floor, crying for half the night, terrorizing the cats, and eating everything in sight. She is like a living vacuum cleaner with no off switch.
Of course she is adorable and her ears as soft as silk, her wagging tail a delight to behold.
But here’s the thing: life was already a challenge. My youngest child has some serious learning issues, and does not respond well to change. This means that the week we had of peace in my home – the first week of peace in eight years – has been suddenly replaced by dog toys being thrown at my head, and chants of “You’re a loser” copied direct from some TV show. Saturday morning, I cleaned the kitchen and did six loads of laundry. This is never a good sign.
A good friend found me walking the neighborhood on Saturday (I’d needed a breath of fresh air), pulled her car over, and said, “You look like you need a drink!” I didn’t go with her – that would be a Pandora’s Box for sure, but my tight shoulders said she was right.
Monday has come, and the kids are at school. Our little pup had a tummy ache but a race to the vet proves it is nothing too serious, and she settles down for a nap.
And I, after two sedentary days following this pup around my house (did I mention she can’t leave for another two weeks because she needs another vaccination?), I got my running shoes on.
Somewhere along that 7k of solitude, I found the strength to continue on. My head cleared; I felt a sense of hope. This is not the end. This is only the beginning. My cats and my children and I will all stretch a bit to accommodate this new creature. I will open my heart and love her.
So…is it the dumbest thing I’ve ever done? Ask me in a year, when my new Labrador/Kelpie is able to run with me. Ask me in six months when she comes to the beach to chase balls. Ask me later today when her whole body wags when she sees me.
I suppose great things do not come without great risks. A lesson I have had to learn yet again.
I’ve also re-learnt the lesson about running, how it puts things in perspective and makes sane the crazy in me.