Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Our New Addition

In case a four year old and a two year old weren't challenge enough, Josh and I decided to invite a puppy into our home: Merlot came home Sunday, and there's nothing like adding another variable to life to make you appreciate how "simple" the days were before.

She's actually ridiculously sweet, content to be petted and loved for as long as someone is willing.  She sleeps like I thought our children would when they were infants--for hours at a time day and night.  She's figuring out that the bathroom is outdoors, she's learning to sit for attention, and while she sometimes gets carried away with Abby, our other "puppy," she's generally quite unexcitable with the kids.

She is a ton of work, and it's hard to go back to that state of constant vigilance required when a newbie is learning the boundaries of acceptable and unacceptable, how the house runs, and what the ground rules are.  It feels like having a newly walking toddler in the family.

There are times I wonder if the kids will grow resentful of all the time she requires or if the constant supervision and training and teaching and instruction will cause the pup to lose her appeal.  But so far, the kids have listened willingly and followed-through beautifully as we've taught them how to teach her. Even after periods of stressful interaction when Merlot has jumped or nipped or when the activity level in the house has exceeded my level of tolerance, the kids still say how much they love her or comment on how cute she is or pray for her at bedtime.  Somehow, they're taking the bad with the good, the frustrating with the endearing as readily as they accept each other.  If I may say so, it's incredible to watch.  I'm not naive enough to think they'll never grow disillusioned with this bundle of needs, but I'm encouraged by their response thus far.

What is sobering is the realization that this puppy will pass both Ben and Abby in size in a matter of mere months.  This leaves little room for error in our training endeavors.  As novice dog owners, this reality is a bit overwhelming and contributes to that "What have we done?!?!" feeling that creeps up in the more chaotic moments.  

But, as with everything in life right now, we're embracing her with faith, hope, and love, trusting that she's the right dog for our family and that the investment of time and energy now will reap dividends in the months and years to come.  Already, it is sweet to watch the kids' confidence grow before our eyes as they learn how to handle her boisterous affection and see how we encourage her successes and watch as we gently but firmly correct her mistakes.  Deep down, as difficult as some moments have been, I think it's really good for all of us.

Right now, I'm alternating between typing and praising her for her extraordinary valiance in the face of the vacuum.  Life has become more divided again, the demands more consuming.  At times I wonder why.  But I realize it's an investment in relationship resulting in love and life abundant.  Like all truly worthwhile endeavors, it's short-term pain for long-term gain.

Here's to many years of fun and companionship, Merlot.  Welcome to the family!

1 comment:

  1. Congratulations on Merlot! She is adorable! Hopefully, we will get to meet her one day soon :)


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