Before C was born, I spent two months in a rental house with my dog. My husband slept at the rental house, but basically spent from 5:15pm-2:00am working on our remodel across town. Occasionally I would haul my giant body out in the cold to deliver a pizza and a six pack of beer just so I could see the man. But usually, I would throw on comfy pants, peel and slice about four oranges (my only real pregnancy craving), and dive into a book or hunker down in front of the computer (we had no cable) with my loyal gal by my side. Literally. We would relax and cuddle and I would whisper promises of never-ending love to her.
She was not just the family dog, she was the family. We were "those people". You know the kind-- you probably have neighbors or friends like us--the kind you roll your eyes at, right? The kind of people who think having a dog is like having a kid. (HA!) Who can't imagine loving someone more than their dog. Who stress out when the store is out of a particular kind of dog food or treat. You're getting the picture, right?
The kind of people who not only buy their dog stockings, but fill them with more treats and goodies than some kids probably receive from Santa.
Still not convinced? We were the kind of people who baked organic homemade dog biscuits.
And braved the cold (I was 8 months pregnant in this snowshoeing photo)--- so that rarely a day went by that she did not get "big exercise"
We "tried" to take family photos with her.
This one is probably one of my favorite pictures ever!
We played and laughed and lived.
But then this happened:
And all those promises that I had whispered to her during our time in the rental were broken on the spot.
That was almost two years ago. And while it didn't happen overnight, I slowly fell out of love with my first four-legged true love. The stress of a fussy baby, a "new" house, unpacking, hormones, marriage, life in general.... just didn't leave a lot of patience for an 80 pound fur ball that only seemed to be in the way. She was loud and clumsy and, well, let's just say she seemed to have missed the "Labrador Retrievers are such smart dogs" gene. (She's very special)
There were more than a few times that M and I would joke about sending her to a farm but only recently did the idea actually sound tempting. And when it did, I sat down and did some thinking. What had changed? Was it really her? Or course we know the answer so I vowed to try to change things. Maybe not go back to considering her my child (that would be super weird since I have a human kid now) but at least try to include her again.
In trying to think of how to rebuild our relationship, I decided that the best thing to do would be to walk. M and I agreed that I would walk Maddy when he comes home for lunch-- just a short little mile walk every day-- to the park and back.
Today was our first lunch date and I think it went well. She seems calmer tonight and there is a good vibe in the house. I know I'll still get frustrated with her, and I know things will never be the way they were before C, but I have to remember that I love her and she really is still a part of this family.