From Potty Training to PUPPIES!

“All I can do is take a deep breath, clean it up and be thankful I don’t also have a puppy.” These are the words that I now read in a previous blog that I wrote and wonder how it was that I temporarily lost my mind. Thinking back there were a few events that stand out that were quite traumatic for myself and my children, at the end of this past summer. Growing up, I always had a dog- it helped me cope with things that were less than perfect in my childhood. The dog became not only a family member, but a best friend that I played with, cared for and confided in. I decided my family desperately needed a puppy as soon as possible. Not just any puppy but a  7 week old, 13 pound SAINT BERNARD puppy that I fell in love with.

Despite the fact that my husband did not grow up with animals/ pets, I wholeheartedly wanted this for our children. I also thought what better pup to break my husband in with, than the biggest there is. Why mess around? I have always wanted a Saint Bernard or a Newfoundland- the bigger the better. I fell in love with this pup’s face the moment I saw it. An angel of a friend drove with the kids and I to Allentown, PA to meet our pup and pick him up from the breeder, who was driving more than half way to meet us. I picked him up and he licked my face all over. Ahhh- what is better than puppy breath? I took him to my three year old and said “here is your puppy, what do you think!?” He said, with the biggest grin on his face, “mommy, he is perfect!” My 1 year old who was terrified of dogs until this very day that I speak of looked at the puppy, smiled and reached out to him with two arms (I am sure confusing him for a plush teddy bear or ball of fur). Until this day he would look at a dog and scream!! He is now “cured” of his fear of dogs 🙂

Although we named him ROMEO (after all it was love at first sight), he acts a little more like Beethoven at times. He can be ornery, playful and then a lazy lump of love all in one day. He is now 16 weeks old and over 45 pounds.  Everyone I knew including my husband (with the exception of a few best friend/doggy lovers) tried to talk me out of this decision. Will I have a bit more of a mess to tend to in addition to the kids? Yes. Will I clean a little harder now and have one more boy to bathe? Yes. Will I have to make special arrangements when we go on vacation? Yes. Is it like having another BABY?! YES!!! But let me say this- he is going to grow with my children (a little faster and a little bigger for now) and they are going to be best friends. They are going to learn responsibility and what it means to care for a living thing. They are going to learn to brush him and bathe him when he rolls in the mud (it actually takes my husband and I both to bathe him now- I can only imagine it will take 4 of us shortly). They are going to learn to play with him and walk him. They will learn how to train him. They will learn how to love and cherish an animal. And sadly enough, they will learn about life and death. I can’t say enough how important these life lessons are. I remember, love and miss each and every one of my pups from childhood until college.

Saint Bernard’s are rescue dogs. How ironic. Even as a baby he has a way of sensing danger when it comes to my children. We recently were on a family vacation in New Hampshire- stayed at a log cabin. The baby wandered out to the driveway as we stood on the front porch, watching him. We were calling his name to come back. Romeo instantly ran to him and started tugging on his pant leg, ever so gentle (we have seen his not so gentle clumsy self in action before). He was clearly trying to pull the baby to “safety”. When the pant leg did not work, he actually took his arm and moved his mouth down to the end of his sleeve, careful not to bite the babies hand, and pulled on it, trying to pull him back to the porch. He pulled and pulled until the baby’s arm actually came out of the sleeve and was sticking out of the shirt- he continued pulling. How amazing. At a traumatic time in our lives- he helped “rescue” my family and gave us something very positive to focus on. I am sure, without a doubt that he is going to not only continue to rescue his new family any chance he gets, but Romeo will leave his paw prints on the hearts of my children, myself and even my husband. Muddy paws or not- they are welcome in our hearts.  We love him!

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