I remember back when a friend of mine gave her cat away shortly after her second child was born. At the time, I remember thinking, “How could she do that? Just give her cat away?” She said that it was because with two children she could no longer give the cat the attention that he needed and wanted. So she gave him to a good friend of hers making sure that he was in a good home. I felt so self-righteous as I looked down at my dog Maggie. “I could never do that, “I said.
Flash-forward to present day, I find myself thinking about all those sayings about people living in glass houses not throwing stones and walking miles in other people’s shoes. Oh, how the mighty have fallen. This past weekend, Maggie, our beloved dog, went to live with Nana and her dog Nimue. With a new baby and a lot going on in our lives right now, we felt it was a good solution for our family. I don’t want to say that this solution is permanent (my mom probably doesn’t either) but telling the kids that Maggie went on vacation to live with Nana for a little while certainly helped ease the blow for all of us.
Olivia, my oldest, was the one who seemed to be most affected by Maggie’s departure. She said she felt a little sad and pouted a bit before finally moving on and pretty much forgetting all about her. Rocky, who every day has been screaming when Maggie would come near her while she ate her snack, demanding that I put her on the other side of the gate, the past few mornings has been asking, “Where Maggie?” Georgia hasn’t said a word about her at all.
Even though lately I had come to despise some of the things about Maggie, like her barking every time a UPS truck would roll down the street, subsequently waking up the baby I just put down for a nap, I miss her. She has been my constant companion for the past 6 years. She was always next to me on the couch or following me up the stairs just to see what I was going to do next. She’s a good dog and I’m hopeful that dogs don’t feel emotions like us humans do because I would feel bad if she is sitting down in southern California copping a big resentment at me for sending her away.
My daughter Georgia is studying farm animals in preschool this week. There is a lot of excitement about baby chicks. But even prior to farm week and Maggie’s sabbatical, Georgia came home and said, “I want to get a baby animal”. I told her that we had a full house and I couldn’t accommodate any more babies.
Both my brother and his wife and my sister-in-law and her husband recently acquired puppies. None of them have children yet and although I treaded down a similar path, I advised against this move for each of them. Things really do change when you have a baby.
When Maggie was a pup, we were childless and carefree. I was able to take her on walks, to work, and dog parks. She was living the easy life and even slept in our bed. While I will always attribute getting Maggie as helping me relax enough to eventually get pregnant, as soon as Olivia arrived it was a different world for doggie. I vowed to make sure that Maggie never was made to feel not as loved as when she first arrive in our home but even with my best intentions things have never been the same for her.
Maggie soon found herself sleeping in the other room and no longer in our bed. Walks became non-existent and she packed on a few extra pounds as a result of stealing string cheese and anything the toddlers dropped from the highchair. Late at night when I’d fall into bed exhausted, my eyes would pop open at the nagging question in my head, “Did I feed Maggie today?”
So now that Maggie is gone, although I miss her terribly, I know my mom will give her the kind of attention that a dog in a house without kids will get. She has the company of another younger dog to play with and a parrot to terrorize to her delight.
Yes, things have certainly calmed down in our house this week. It is quieter without her barking at every truck or TV show that has a doorbell ring in it. I can open the front door to talk to my neighbor without her tearing down the street and me having to chase her.
I hope that Maggie will come back to live with us as soon as the baby gets a little older and things are easier for me. Until then, I will enjoy one less responsibility and just continue to pray when the carnival rolls into town that no one comes home with a goldfish.