“Mom dogs are such wonderful and loving companions. Why wouldn’t you want to have a dog?” Our oldest son was suggesting.
“I am enjoying my freedom now. I get attached quickly if I have a dog. For me, it is like having a baby.” I said.
“ No dogs are not like babies at all. Babies require constant care. Dogs will give you so much love and affection and all you need to do is to feed them and take them out for walks. That’s it!” He persisted.
“ I agree that dogs are a symbol of unconditional love and are loving companions, however, I am not ready for the responsibility of it. As of now, we have to the freedom to go away anytime we want.”
“ You can leave the dog with me whenever you go away.”
“I feel touched by your love, passion and encouragement, the fact is that you travel all the time because of work. How can we count on you?”
“There are always friends who help each other with pets, it’s not a big deal.”
“Pets become like children. You cannot just leave them with anyone. I recall how cautious I was when you guys were growing up. I only trusted my close friends, mothers of same age children when I had obligations.”
“You are making it harder than it is. Dogs are independent and can be left alone. They sleep when you are not home and greet you with love when you come home. I don’t understand why are you resisting the idea? They kill them if no one adopts them.”
“Now, I feel my guilt buttons are being pushed. I feel it is a great experience for you and your partner to take care of the two dogs to prepare you for parenting children. I am enjoying our freedom now so I will let you know if and when we are ready to have a dog and will revisit this issue.”
I could see the disappointment on his face and lack of understanding. I recalled when he was about 13-14 years old, he asked us to get him a Husky. At the time, we were experiencing some challenges with him related to sharing household responsibilities. He was a fun loving guy who wished to play. He would reason like a philosopher that there was no reason to make his bed in the morning because he‘d be gone all day and goes to bed at night.
My husband and I explored the possibility of a husky, discussed the issue for hours. It might be a good experience for him to have a dog to help him grow and accept responsibilities. On the other hand, I felt his image of having a dog would be the few minutes of going to the park and running around throwing a ball. Would he take responsibility of feeding the dog regularly, taking it for walks? What about the immunizations? Fleas? Illness? Training school? Huskies are big dogs. I was already overwhelmed with family responsibilities, raising three children, working full time and running a household.
We decided it was not a good idea at the time. Our son was disappointed which was heart-aching for me. But we knew nothing about caring for a dog. It was time for introspection, going within. I was aware of my resistance. I love animals. I love dogs, especially therapy dogs. Is there something in my subconscious? Then a child hood memory emerged.
When I was 7 years old, there was a stray cat that regularly visited our home asking for food. We put leftover food for the cat that ate and left. In our backyard, we had a glass-covered nursery for plants in the winter. There were many items stored there also. One spring day, when all the flowers were out in the yard and the glass storage was rather empty. I was in the yard when I heard the sound of “meow” from the storage. It sounded like kittens crying. I was curious, went inside and saw three newborn kittens in a flat container with a piece of cloth on it. Oh wow, the stray cat that visited had kittens! I looked around for her, wondering where she was and why she had left her babies? My maternal instinct was triggered; I was determined to save the kittens. I went inside immediately and found a flat plate and put milk in it and brought it back and put it in front of them. They did not drink the milk. Now, I realized their eyes were still closed. Perhaps by instinct, they were searching for the warm body of their mother and her nipples. What could I do? I must feed them. I went back looking for an eye drop, that maybe I could fill the drop by milk and feed them. I picked a kitty and tried to feed him and it did not work. The kittens were crying. I felt powerless and helpless. I knew they were going to die if the mother didn’t come back. Looking back, I wonder if my own feelings of abandonment as a child was triggered. I was angry at the mother cat. How could she leave her babies? What about maternal instinct? What is going to happen to the kittens? I had grown to love them and felt attached. The kittens ended up crying to death.
Now, almost six decades later, I still can hear the cry of the kittens. Perhaps it’s related to my first experience of loss. I wonder if the impact at such a tender age had left a scar my heart more that I was aware of.
It is June 2014, we were visiting our son and his girlfriend in Berlin. He was there working on a movie. We had a great day visiting Potsdom Castle with a dear friend and were going to a beer garden for dinner in a beautiful park. This was a happy family day. Then, the phone rang and he and his girlfriend were informed that their Pomeranian dog, Red, was not doing well and was having difficulty breathing. They asked their friend to take her to the vet immediately. The vet called an hour later suspecting a heart failure and pneumonia. There was need for many tests and hospitalization. The vet informed them about the high cost which they authorized. Our son started to cry as if he were facing the loss of his child. I looked into his beautiful eyes and hugged him tightly. I knew he wanted to be there to hold Red in his arm and let her know she was loved. Thankfully, Red survived and was released after a few days.
The loving bond between two beings is sacred and the loss is painful. Our precious Red left her body on November 11, 2014. Her loving eyes & spirit will always be remembered. She was loved by all. We are thankful for our little Buddha who brought so much love & joy to our lives. I can imagine if she could speak would thank Sabrina & Omid for rescuing her and giving her a quality life with endless love. Farewell Red.