Rainbow Bridge ~ Something Worth Sharing

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It seems that in the past few months I’ve read post after post from friends on Facebook who have lost a beloved pet.  Today another post was made from another friend.  In it, she mentioned a place called Rainbow Bridge.  I remember my sister mentioning this place to me long ago.  At the time I didn’t own a pet.  I had no dog or cat.  No fish or rabbits or birds.  Or, any other creature that people decide to adopt and take care of and make part of their family.

Today I do have a pet.  I have a puppy named Duncan.  I have found out how quickly these wonderful creatures steal your heart and become a true member of your family.

When I read my friend’s post this morning referring to Rainbow Bridge, I decided to Google it and find out what and where exactly this place was.  For those of you who have pets or have ever had a pet, I think you’ll find that my discovery is worth sharing……


Rainbow Bridge

 


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Puppy Love!! ~ Eleven New Things I’ve Learned About Puppies

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My routine has changed.  My once typical morning of coffee, working out and writing has recently morphed into a whirlwind of chaos and fly by the seat of your pants activities, chores and running around chasing a tail.  Literally, because I’ve got a new Puppy!!

Duncan, my lovable new sidekick, has permanently joined our family and there’s suddenly not a single shred of “routine or calm” in my day-to-day life.   And, I could not be happier or more in love with this adorable, blonde, big brown-eyed Puggle weighing in at eleven lbs and standing one foot tall.  Who doesn’t love a puppy?

I simply can’t.get.enough of him!  My cup runneth over!!  My heart is about to burst!!  Hooray!!!  I’m in puppy love!!!

Ohh, the big decision to adopt him was not something I arrived at lightly.  It’s something I’d been thinking about for a long time.  Something that my boys had been pleading for, well, for as long as I can remember.  Clark? – well, his mantra for the past few years since I really started getting serious about getting a dog has been….. “Have you lost your ever-lovin’ mind? NO, Absolutely not…we are not getting a dog!”

So I did what any red-blooded American, empty nester female would do.  I went out all by myself, searched high and low and not only found Duncan, but brought him home.  “Ohh honey, I’m home!!…..Surpriseeee!! 

I knew that the moment my Hubs saw the little guy skittishly romping and skidding across the kitchen floor towards him, that it would be love at first sight.  He’d agree that I was right all along about adding this new little bundle of joy to our family.  Annnnnd, it didn’t take Clark long to lose his heart forever to this perfect example of Man’s Best Friend.  It didn’t take long for this tiny, mischievous, energetic pup and my hubs to become best buds.

Is it ironic that my decision to take the plunge and adopt this feisty, fireball of fur coincided with my boys arriving at young adulthood and living basically on their own and out of the house??  (*ehem*…I use the phrase ‘out of the house’ lightly)  Nah, my friends and family all assure me that it is just my way of reacting to my mid-life crisis.  But *I* say… there’s simply no time like the present!!

So, in the past month or so my routine has not only done a total 360, but my world has been opened up to life with a puppy.  I’ve been diligently working to train and groom this sweet little canine into a well-disciplined member of the family.  Some days are simple.  Others, a great challenge.

Here are a few bridges we’ve crossed and things I’ve learned since his arrival into his new home and his permanent place into our family and our hearts…

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What you learn when you live life with a puppy

thPuppies care about your health!!  They’ll go out of their way to get you up and outside with them.  Often!  The backdoor in now their personal scratching pad when they decide it’s time for you to get out and play with them.  If that does not get your attention, their high-pitched squeak/bark will get your attention.  Arrffff Arrrffff..

th They don’t judge.  They aren’t particular about what outfit you happen to hastily toss on when you notice they’ve squeezed through the backyard fence.  They also don’t make judgements about what your hair looks like or that you’re in your bathrobe while chasing them down the block when they decide to take off after a midnight potty break.

thThey love to play games…like Hide and Seek.  They pick the object and hide it somewhere you’d never think of looking for it.   And you get to go seek it.  FUN!

thYou’ll quickly get used to being mistaken for a human pin cushion.  They use your arms and legs for teething.  If you’re not stern enough, they’ll also use the legs of your funiture.  Thank Goodness for the distressed wood fad that’s been in fashion in recent years.  Let’s hope it’s here to stay for a while……

thPet insurance – their premiums may be higher than yours.  This so-called “safeguard” is an evil necessity because let’s face it, who wants to get stuck with a $2000 vet bill for Physical therapy, thyroid conditions or God forbid, therapy sessions when they’re feeling blue.   Right?

thPuppies help you hone your time management skills.  Want to run your usual day long errands?  Not so fast, mister…  You learn quickly to do 5 hours of activities and errands, in a zippy hour and twenty-two minutes.  These these short hourly increments of free time are what you’re now allotted ~ at least while your sweet pooch learns the fine art of potty training.

thThey’re like babies.  Suddenly you’re talking about poop and pee again, a lot.  They make you feel absurdly proud.  When you’re in public and see total strangers looking and smiling at your puppy, it’s hard not to smile and feel a sense of pride, which is somewhat ridiculous because you aren’t responsible for the existence of this creature, you paid too much money for it, in fact.

thPuppy Proofing is essential.  Puppies try to kill themselves everyday, all day, and in creative ways.  Like… by chewing through electrical chords and eating scissors.  Anything dropped on the floor is fair game if you can’t quickly lunge for it before they get to it.

thPuppies increase the need for vacuuming, sweeping, mopping and tidying, in general.  You’re house has never looked so clean!  You’ve never been more organized as when you have a puppy around.  Mainly out of necessity.  Get it done now or don’t get it done!

thThe universe revolves around puppies. Suddenly you become dog-centric against your will. Your puppy is the topic of every conversation, and when it isn’t you find ways to steer the conversation back to your puppy.

thPuppies disrupt sleep; Suddenly, we’re drawing straws on Saturday morning about who gets up with the puppy. Suddenly, you’re drawing straws each night about who takes puppy to the bathroom at midnight. I’ve caught myself feigning sleep in the wee hours, hoping my husband will jump at that task.

Ok, that being said – The trials and tribulations of training a young puppy will never measure up to the love you’ll have for your dog, or the love he brings you.  You’ll never have a better or more loyal friend than this amazing, wonderful creature.  They eagerly greet you, tail wagging and rump squirming, when you walk through the door at the end of a hard day.  They’re ALWAYS happy to see you.  Their affection towards you is the definition of unconditional love.  They are the only thing on earth than loves you more than they love themself.  He is your friend, your partner, your defender, your dog.  You are his life, his love, his leader. He will be yours, faithful and true, to the last beat of his heart.

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“The world would be a nicer place if everyone had the ability to love as unconditionally as a dog.”

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mans best friend

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.