I grew up without pets. Whenever we asked my father if we could get a puppy, he always said the same thing, “Four children is enough.” I guess this is why I never understood the whole human-canine connection that supposedly existed. Several years ago, when Marley and Me came out in theaters, I went to watch it with a few friends. While I recall enjoying the movie, I left the theater perplexed, wondering why my friends had cried. Sure, Marley dying was sad, but tear-worthy? I guess not for me.
Fast forward to this past July.
In the weeks leading up to our puppy’s arrival at home, Tyler regularly shared how excited he was. Frequent exclamations of, “Oh, she’s going to be so cute!” or “I’m going to love her so much!” had me slightly worried where I would get placed in our new family equation. Little did I know what was to come.
Now, we’ve had Maisie for about two months and in those short eight weeks (has it really only been that long!?!?), I feel like I have a birthed a child. Not in the sense that I actually went through labor (thank god), but I have never been more worried, concerned or emotional about another being’s well-being in my life.
For instance, at two weeks old, we brought Maisie to CT for a short visit to Tyler’s mom’s house. Tyler’s parents own two dogs – Wilson and Dexter, 9 and 7 years old respectively. Neither Wilson nor Dexter were psyched about Maisie’s presence, but she was quite excited by theirs. Although we kept a close eye on them, I guess Maisie got a little too frisky with Dexter, who lunged at her in a not-so-friendly manner. Whether he actually bit her or she knocked her leg into a piece of furniture we’ll never know, but the poor baby couldn’t walk on her front, right leg and yelped every time we went to gently touch it.
Tyler remained relatively calm, but I was beside myself. Bawling on the kitchen floor, curled up in a ball around Maisie and stroking her tiny, furry body, completely convinced that we’d stolen her ability to walk for the rest of her life. Sadly, I’m NOT kidding. My mind kept reeling with thoughts of, “I should have been more careful, kept a closer eye, barracaded her in the kitchen with me! What was I thinking?!” Fortunately, after a couple of hours lying on the floor and in my pool of tears, Maisie’s limp began to subside and an emergency visit to the local vet proved she was fine.
Overall, my anxiety over Maisie has lessened, but only to a degree. When life threw us a curveball two weeks later and we had to change our original daycare plans, I was once again a hot mess. So much so that I think Tyler might actually be afraid to have children with me now. In my defense, I think I’ve been preparing my whole life for children. I know I will probably have to be a working mom and I know that pre-school is good for kids. I’m a teacher after all! I just didn’t think that dog-garn puppy would get me, and boy…she did.
I love you, Maisie.