Thursday, March 16, 2017

Why Moving and a Puppy Go Hand in Hand

Last Spring, we prepared for our cross-country move by closing ties with people and places in Virginia and maintained a clutter-free existence while our house was on the market. It felt like we were throwing up everything in the air and hoping that it would fall into place sometime in the next few years in a place we knew only somewhat. In the midst of all this, our sweet old dog passed away. It was a blessing and a curse, as most things are in life. My heart had a big, Lulu-sized hole in it and I was ready to leave the house she'd lived in to escape the hurt.

So I got my name on a list for a lab puppy. Right there, in the middle of that messy season, I knew it was the right thing to do.

A rebound relationship of another sort? Maybe, but I know I'm a dog person and having an affectionate bundle of wags that needed me (and I needed right back) was something I believed I needed in my life. The sooner, the better.

After a very exciting and very fun and very big summer, we arrived at our new home in Washington State the third week of July. Just as the dust was settling on my car (it had been in motion for a very long time as we traveled) and our kids got a little taste of the enormity of the task of being "the new kid," we went and picked up Sunny. She was an incredible bundle of wag. Her tail moved nonstop--when she was awake. Every jump and bounce and off-balance run made us all smile and laugh.
Sunny (at two months?) & Kiefer

School began soon after that. After their first day of school--their first day of school as The New Kid--it was Sunny and her wagging tail that met them in the car. (I drove, but they didn't see me or need me in the same way.) It was Sunny who picked them up when they were feeling a little blue. It was Sunny who Lorelei could sit with during early, friend-less afternoons, with the boys out playing with the neighbor boys.

My kids have thoroughly enjoyed Sunny. But between you and me, the puppy was for me. I turned 40 last summer and my youngest went to kindergarten--what a big year! I'm an extravert, and while I like some time pretending I'm an introvert, I knew too much alone time wasn't good for me. I had some college friends scattered around, but not the tight group of moms I could call on during the school day. Or after school. Or...well, anytime. Sunny was not the same as my good girlfriends, but she kept me company, gave me someone to talk to and focus on rather than just myself. I could play with her--I was supposed to play with her!--and she wagged all the more.

Sunny (when she fit in that bed) & me (I still fit in that chair)
And a puppy--especially in those early days when she was just a fluffball--gave us a great excuse to meet every single one of our neighbors. People would drive by, stop and get out, and come pet her and talk to us. She brought smiles to their faces, but their smiles extended easily to us. Soon we knew all the dog names in the neighborhood...and we were working on their people's names.

During Summer, Sunny was up once or twice at night, and I got a big eye-full of the starry sky every night. I was blurry in the morning, sure, but the stars were an impressive silver lining of
losing sleep. Summer turned to Fall and the weather turned from glorious to rainy, Sunny stayed sunny and got me out in the rain, regardless of what I wanted to do. And that, too, has been a good thing.

So...are you moving? Consider getting a puppy. (Although if you're moving somewhere cold in the dead of winter you might want to wait until it thaws!)


Unknown said...

This is funny because I am an introvert and also used my dogs to get to know my neighbors when I moved. They helped make connections that are difficult for me. When you walk basset hounds everyone stops to admire them or tell about the one they knew growing up. said...

I love this! We moved (just to the next town over...) a year and a half ago, and after 6 months or so, we got a puppy too. It was the perfect thing for us to do... We got him for the kids of course... but I love him so much. I'm the opposite I think - I'm an introvert but sometimes pretend to be an extrovert. :-) I love that walking my dog gives me a way to make connections -- just like Adrienne's comment! I also love how walking the dog is something that has to be done... gets me out and about even when I'm in the mood to sit and chill.

Unknown said...

I love your story! I am considering a puppy right now - just have to convince my fiance. I had to put my dog down this past summer, and like you said there is a hole in my heart. I am a dog person and I want a new dog to love! Sunny is adorable. Sounds like she helped make the move easier and happier :)

elsie said...

When we moved to our current city, we picked up a puppy on our way out of town. She was supposed to be a companion to our current dog who would not like the confined yard of our new house. Unfortunately that dog did not move out of the way of a car. I was heartbroken. The new puppy was just what I needed. Yes, a puppy is just right when moving.

Unknown said...

I hadn't thought about moving being a good time to get a puppy, but I see it now. Especially to have her greeting the kids after school!