When Steve and I got married, we (or I guess I should say I) wrestled with the idea of having a child together. I was 45 years old when we said our vows and not only was I still young enough to have another child, I was having MAJOR baby urges. Looking back, I think most of those urgings came from the fact that I had finally found my soulmate and there is nothing more intimate than sharing and raising a child together with the man that God designed just for me. Steve and I (but mostly Steve) missed out on so many special events in our children’s lives due to our jobs, being single parents, and being separated from our children while they were with their other parent. I longed to have a child that we would have and hold together. Kind of like getting a second chance at parenthood. Despite my baby urgings, we also knew that we were going into a new season of our lives and having another child did not feel like God’s plan for us so a few months before our wedding, we took care of making sure we would not be surprised by a new addition to our family.
But making that decision did not stop the baby urges, and when Steve would see the longing in my eyes for a baby, he would jokingly ask, “Do you want a puppy?” My immediate response was, “No way!” During my growing up, we had one short-lived experience with a dog and it was not a time that produces many fond memories so the thought of a puppy instinctively brought on negative emotions. Plus, our current travel schedules were so full and out life was filled with so many comings and goings, how we would be able to make time for a puppy? Additionally, now that we live in 420 square feet of space, we barely had enough space for ourselves, so how would we make comfortable room for a dog? But when Steve would see my longings, he continued to poke at me with the suggestion of a puppy and I would continue to adamantly declare, “No way!”
So how did we get to the point of spending our evenings searching the rescued dogs on Petfinder.com and breaking out the tape measure to find space for a crate and bed, and reorganizing our household goods to make space for dog food, treats, and doggie toys? Not to mention the time I invested on Rover.com to investigate the availability of a dog sitter while we visit with my in-laws over Thanksgiving. It isn’t as noteworthy to discuss when that all happened as much as HOW that happened? How did I move from “HEll NO” to “We’re doing this!” I think the greatest motivator for me was having our son David here with us. While he experienced dogs at his dad’s house, we never had anything more than two gerbils. And I started realizing that having a dog means putting somebody else before oneself. Plus a dog provides unconditional love and someone to pour your heart into such that a heart can be healed through the love and attention of a dog. Having a pet also expands our purpose on this earth. We are no longer just here for ourselves, we are here to care and nurture another being. When I started having those thoughts, I realized that having a dog would now fit into Steve and my semi-retired lifestyles and it would also be really good for David. I knew that this was the right season for us to bring a dog into our family.
So off to Last Chance Animal Rescue we went when we found a few dogs that seemed to tug at our heartstrings. Gus was our first choice and when he did not show up with his foster family, we started looking at alternatives. We thought we had found just the right addition to our family with Daphne, but David had second thoughts just as we were finalizing the paperwork. I was proud of him for not settling for something that did not feel right in his heart. When the shelter called later that day and announced that Gus was there, we didn’t hesitate to drive the 70 miles to get back there for a visit. I am now so thankful we did not settle. Gus has seemed to settle right into boat life – except that he does not like being picked up to be carried on and off the boat and seems to wish that he could walk himself on and off the dock. I feel a new project coming on for Steve and David- a foldable boat ramp!
Our new addition to the family has certainly changed our routines- but definitely all for the better. Gus has brought a new focus into our lives- a rekindling of the importance of positive reinforcement, attention, and playtime for the sake of play. He has fit in so well, I almost forget that just within the last few months the question of “Wanna puppy?” made me shudder in complete repudiation. Making the decision to bring Gus into our lives has reminded me that there is a season for everything and while our lifestyle may not have been condusive to a dog while I was a single mom and traveling often for business, my life has certainly changed over the last few years and this is definitely the season for us and Gus.
“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.” Ecclesiastes 3:1