Meet Fiona. She will be two in July. She is a beabull (beagle bulldog). And she is the gift we didn’t know we desperately needed. With two wild children in the house, our sweet, geriatric dog Molly is beyond perfect for snuggling up with to read a book or to take a nap, but she is not much fun to play with. She will happily watch the ball roll by her or half-heartedly hold the stick in her mouth for a second before letting it fall onto the ground, but there is no real play happening at this point.
Our boys tried desperately to get Molly to play for awhile when she started slowing down, and at first she would rally. And then she just wouldn’t. The boys kept trying for awhile. Then gradually, they just didn’t. Enter Fi. My mom-in-law “rode with” her cousins to go pick up their puppy. Did I want to ride along? Uh, no. No, I did not. I knew I would come home with a puppy if I rode along. Guess what? Mom-in-law came home with her own puppy…and her other puppy (a 70-pound 1.5-year-old love) wasn’t really keen on sharing his mommy. So even though I knew myself well enough to avoid that trip, I did not avoid the puppy. And you know what? She’s the best failed avoidance ever.
Experiencing a puppy has been such a good thing for our chitlins. They are currently 11 and seven, and she gets them in a way that (they believe) we grown ups never could. She is game for any mischief they cook up. She initiates the mischief more often than not, actually. And she’s totally adorable, so she is allowed to live even though the mischief is sometimes kinda big. Nerf bullets quake in her presence–she annihilates them. Shoes are daily carried about to new locations, and plenty of them have received her chewing approval. You thought your glasses were safe up on the table by the couch? Think again (three pairs and counting).
We tried to start her off sleeping in her cubby. We draped a blanket over it so she wouldn’t feel exposed in the big room but would instead be cozy in her own safe little space. We lined it with snuggly blankets. We gave her nubs (that’s love, for those of you outside our family). We headed off to bed, and I begged the boys to settle down and be quiet so poor Fiona wouldn’t be able to hear us. We read suuuuuuuper quietly. She was quiet for about 10 minutes. I thought we had pulled it off. Then we heard the tiniest of squeaks from the living room. At first, I thought I had heard wrong. But those sweet little whimpers increased in volume and length until she was really crying.
We have always been dog-in-the-bed people. We knew she would end up there before too long. It just seemed silly to prolong the inevitable, so into the bed she came, and she slept through the night like a trooper. And there she has remained. It’s a little more challenging getting the boys to settle down for bed now because there is a puppy right there who would be happy to blow bedtime and keep on playing. Some nights, they get her so riled up just from laughing too loudly and too long. How can I be mad about that? You may be shocked, but most nights I’m able to pull off the frustration just fine. Every now and then, though, I mentally step back and revel in their wild rumpus. As much as I’d like them to pile into bed after teeth brushing and calmly read their books and drift off to dream land, I secretly appreciate their steady resistance. It would be weird if they just cooperated all the time. At least I’m going to keep telling myself that.
So, Fiona is a love. She’s adorable. She gives hugs. She has a pouty lip. She bites hoodie strings. She nibbles ears. She eats like the world is ending. She’s part monster. And we love her and needed her like we could never have imagined. She will make the transition a little more bearable when we move from a family with two dogs to a family with one. There will be no amount of ear scratching or belly rubs that will ever be able to return to her what she gives us every day…and what she will give us later.
♥ ♥ ♥