Tonight I felt like writing but didn’t feel like writing from somewhere deep within. So, I put it out there to my lovely twitter friends and they came up with the following topics: Love at first sight, wiping bums, dogs, botox, bottoms, kids farts, childhood nostalgia & raising boys. I was going to go with the first suggestion I received, however as I received them all I thought I might write a blog post incorporating all of the suggested elements – a bit like a mystery box challenge from Masterchef. So, here goes (and by the way this is real, not fiction).
You may or may not know that we have a dog. He is a golden cocker spaniel and his name is Sammy. He is gorgeous and I love him to bits. In fact, when the boys and I saw him at the Pet Shop in August 2005, it was “love at first sight“. Our hearts just melted. When we asked to hold him, there was no turning back. We had to have him. However, we were yet to formulate a plan to convince the Man I Love that we needed a dog. That we needed an $895 dog no less. Not an easy task. We took a photo and showed him often. Five times a day, every day. It was gruelling and at times demoralising. He is Italian and stands his ground. We took him to the pet shop to cuddle the puppy. He refused to hold him. We gave him daily updates on the status of Sammy. Out of desperation we named him already. Wishful thinking.
Four long weeks passed and we had taken almost daily visits to the pet shop to see our Sammy. It was a good thing the Pet Shop was close to home. Each time we went to the Pet Shop, our hearts in our mouths, hoping that Sammy would still be there. He was. This made us sad and happy at the same time. On the fourth Saturday, Mr 18 (who was Mr 13 at the time) called us to say that he’d been to the pet shop with his dad and Sammy was still there and Sammy was so sad. I told the Man I Love who replied with a sigh of resignation “go and get dressed we are going to the pet shop”. Squeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee (could be heard all over Brisbane). We had worn him down. Finally.
Sammy came home with us on the 19th September 2005. The boys were at their father’s place so they didn’t know we had bought Sammy. That night they had to stop in to pick up something. When they came into the lounge room Sammy walked out from under the coffee table. The look of joy and surprise on those boys faces was priceless. As I am writing this I have tears in my eyes. Mr 16 (who was Mr 9) could not speak. He almost wet his pants with excitement. Seriously, he almost did. The smile on his face stayed for weeks. It made my heart sing with joy to see my boys so happy.
Something magical happened to our family when we got Sammy. He took our blended family and made it one. He became the common tie we all have. My step daughters love him, the boys love him and we love him. The boys and I have a different surname to the Man I Love and his daughters, so we have given Sammy a surname that combines both our names. I love to see my step daughters and my sons interact with Sammy. He is a loving, gentle dog and all of our children are gentle and loving souls. He brings out the best in every one of us.
The Man I Love will lie on the floor and cuddle him and you can visibly see the tension drain away from him.
The boys will come home feral and hormonal, but as soon as they see Sammy they will lie on the floor or the lounge and cuddle him and become loving little boys again. The girls come in and sit down on the floor and cuddle Sammy.
He is much loved and the centre of our family. If you love animals you will “get” this. If you don’t, you may not. A family dog can bring so much love and joy into a home. I never imagined how much a pet would bundle up a blended family and make it whole. It is amazing.
Owning a pet does come with some responsibilities, it is not all hearts and flowers. There are the serious aspects such as feeding, which you need to do daily, like the kids. Exercise, ideally this should be done daily, like the kids (and the adults). Fleas – even the cleanest of dogs can get fleas – it’s a bit like nits, only worse. Kind of. Blocked anal glands. Yes you read that right. The anal gland is, as you would expect, in the dog’s bottom. It secretes mucus which coats the poo and makes it nice for other dogs to smell. That is why dogs like to stop and smell each other’s poo. I’ve never understood this before. I don’t really understand it now. Coat it with mucus, coat it with coconut – it is still poo and I wouldn’t want to stop and smell it!! I didn’t say all aspects of owning a dog were nice! Anyway, back to the blocked anal glands. Some dogs have a problem and their anal glands don’t empty. This causes the glands to swell because the mucus builds up. We can tell when this happens because Sammy starts wiping his bum on the grass, carpet, concrete – any hard surface really. We have to take him to the vet to have the glands squeezed. Often. It.is.not.pretty. That is all I am going say on this matter.
Another bonus that comes with owning a dog is you can blame him for all manner of bad smells in the house and the car. I am not going to say whether or not I have blamed the dog on something I may or may not have done. But what I can say is, the kids are very good at blaming the dog, particularly when we are all travelling in the Man I Love’s lovely luxury car and one of the boys will pass wind fart (sounds much better for boys). This does not go down well with the Man I Love so we all blame Sammy. He’s happy to take the rap. Boys fart alot compared to girls and Sammy has come in very handy to cover up for the boys. Thankfully the boys have better control over their bottoms these days! But let me just say, teenage boys farts are NOT nice. I often wonder “what in God’s name they have eaten to smell like that?”. Some things are better not known.
A family pet, particularly a cat or a dog, can bring so much joy to everyone and plays a big part in raising boys. It helps to teach them love and compassion. They can often show tender emotions to a pet when they struggle to show them to another person. Owning Sammy has enriched all of our lives and makes us all better people. Sammy brings out the gentle side of my boys. Last night Mr 16 came home, walked in, lied on the floor and cuddled Sammy and told him he loved him. When he came in to kiss us hello he said “God I love that dog”. This makes my day.
The wonderful memories they will have of their life with Sammy will be something they will treasure. They will look back nostalgically on their childhood and remember the love they both received and gave to Sammy. As will I.
PS. I bet you are wondering about the BOTOX? Me too. I’ve wondered whether or not Botox would be a good option for me. As I do with most things, I spent some time researching the benefits and pitfalls of Botox and have decided that I’m going to stay just as I am. No matter how droopy, wrinkly or otherwise my face becomes – my family and my Sammy will always love me. I’m guessing if I looked like this I might just give them all cause to “howl” (with laughter) as they walk out the door!
Ladies you were once stunning – why did you do it?