Today, my youngest son, Brian, is coming home from college to spend a week with us. Our home always becomes a haven of activity while he’s home for any length of time. Discussions become lively. Friends are constantly popping over. The house becomes unsettled and messy. I have learned over the years not to sweat the small stuff. Knowing that the chaos is only temporary, I try to concentrate on the joy my heart feels when I see him walk back through the door. I miss him so much while he’s gone. It’s always so good to see him walk back in.
I answered the phone a few days ago and he was on the other end. “Mom, I was thinking about bringing Lil’ Bit home with me next week while on break.” I was silent on my end of the phone. I realized that the chaos was one week away.
Lil’ Bit is his Fraternity’s dog. Last year, someone decided that they needed one so they went out and got one. I’m still unclear where the pooch came from. The first time I met Lil’ Bit was last fall while my hubby and I were visiting Brian at School. We were walking down the beautiful streets of Oxford, soaking up the gorgeous fall day. Brian was giving us a tour, proudly pointing out all the historical and worthwhile places of interest. You couldn’t help but get caught up in the college atmosphere. There was loud music blasting out of open windows in houses up and down the street. There were students walking around everywhere. The coffee houses and bars were filled to capacity. You got caught up in the carefree and spirited atmosphere that goes hand in hand with college life.
As we turned the corner from one tree lined street onto another, Brian pointed out a group of his friends that were walking about a block away. “Look ma!!… there’s Lil’ Bit!!” I looked up to see one of his friends tugging on a leash with an aggressive dog on the other end. It was as if this dog had sniffed out a squirrel or something and was eager to go get it. This dog had energy! It was dragging it’s master along. I told Brian that he was a nice looking dog. Brian told me they were still in the middle of training him and that he was still a little excitable. He told me that just last week one of his friends was playing tug of war with the excitable pooch and got a little too close and the dog bit his nose. He thought that was humorous. This was not what a mom wanted to hear.
Brian has wanted a dog for as long as I can remember. We never got one and if you asked me what my biggest regret in life was, that would be it. We had our reasons for not getting one, but over the years, those reasons started to fade. Before I knew it, the boys were grown and out the door and I felt the opportunity had passed us by. But, had it? There have been many times in the past few years that I have wavered and thought, yes, it would be nice to have a dog. Maybe we should get one. It’s never really too late.
I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. I try to picture how it would be if we added a canine friend to our family. I think about how our life would change and about the adjustments we’d have to make. I made a mental list in my head and they really did not seem that overwhelming. Alright, everything we owned would immediately smell of dog and our clothes would be covered in animal hair. Vet bills would be high and our toilet would become the dog’s refreshment center. And of course, there would be no discernment in the licking department….(his privates, the dead thing in the yard, your face…) But, the unconditional love you get from a pet far outweighs all of those little issues.
Last time Brian was home on a break, I told him that I thought I might be ready to get a dog. His response was immediate! Now this was news he had been waiting for all his life! He started researching to try to find the perfect breed. He’d show me pictures of cute puppies that you couldn’t help but fall in love with. He was really working all the angles! He said to me, “My friend has a Saint Bernard. That would be a great dog to get!! He can carry one of those little kegs under it’s neck!!” I just looked at him. He went on to tell me that they originally started carrying those kegs under their necks because they were true rescue dogs and that is where medical supplies were carried. I did not see the allure of getting a huge dog with a special talent like that. If I wanted some tums or Advil or a band-aid, I could just walk to the medicine cabinet. No, I needed to ease into the world of pet ownership with something a little smaller. Besides, don’t Saint Bernards have drooling issues? He assured me they didn’t drool like they used to. I was skeptical. The Saint Bernard was out.
We’ve gone back and forth a lot in the past months. I know that the decision will ultimately be his because it’s very likely that he’ll end up taking this dog back to school with him in the fall. That is a win/win for everyone!
Brian will be rolling in tonight sometime around dinner and he’ll spend the week with us. I’m so excited to see him. We’ll talk about the dog that might be joining our family this summer. We’ll continue to think about what kind would be good to get. I will lay out a list of the responsibilities that will be his. With any luck, we’ll come to terms and make some progress on these decisions. I know that this means that there will be adjustments to make and compromises to be had, but I feel good about this decision. Three or four years ago you wouldn’t have heard me mention even the slightest possibility of getting a dog. Our household is about to change.