Wednesday, August 08, 2007

All in the family

I am sitting with my girls. Two pups are laying at my feet quietly as I type. They might let out an occasional groan when I reach down to scritch them with my foot. They might lift their head for a moment to see what Guy is doing making all that noise with a drill.

But they stay close to me. Spoiled and content.

These pups, my girls, were my only immediate family for a year. They have stood by my side, lay by my feet, and walked with me through a multitude of changes. And they adapted. They are happy.

The eldest has been with me for 11 years now. I watch her aging and I want to stop the clock. I want to find some magic that will preserve her health forever. She is so much a part of my life, and I will be a wreck when she is gone. She was the first to know I was pregnant, and has not left my side longer than 10 minutes ever since.

The younger is only five. She is a bad girl, passing obedience with flying colors only to come home and poop on the floor because she was too lazy to ask you to let her out. Some days I could shoot her. But she is so sweet. Gentle and observant. Quiet and unobtrusive. Unless you are sitting in her spot on the couch.

I have read how their status will change once the baby comes. I have read how they will no longer be my babies, and that I will see them for the animals they are. They are just pets.

It is true that the welfare of my child will come first. I understand that. I had to demonstrate that understanding and put down my boy dog who jumped Lovely for no reason other than he was sick. Not right. He was broken. And so I did. I ended his life and stayed with him through it. I said goodbye and that I was sorry I couldn't fix him.

But these girls. I will not love them less. I will not send them outside. I will not treat them like they are disposable.

And the people tell me I don't understand because I don't have my own child. They tell me to wait and see.

I tell them, come back in January. Come back and see how my family has grown. Wait and see how my pups are still my pups. They will adapt. They always have.

In return, my child will learn the importance of caring for an animal. She will learn the power we have to make their lives happy or to make their lives hell. She will learn that we have a responsibility to care for all living creatures, especially the ones under our own roof.

Best of all though, she will learn the unconditional love of a dog.

And if she is a patient grasshopper, she might even learn from Princess the joys of holding your face directly above the air conditioning vent and having your ears flap in the cold breeze.