Well, we're preparing for the arrival of our newest member of the family in three weeks. My heart is melting over this. As you all know, Dr. Thyme and I have suffered several losses of our most cherished pets. And with each loss, we felt an emptiness that was difficult to overcome. Very. Difficult. Lots of tears. The last loss, Merlin, was perhaps the tipping point. The point at which we both looked at each other and said, Gee, it'd be great to have a dog for its entire life: from puppyhood to adulthood. Because truth be told, the time we have to share a life with a dog is never long enough.
We've had many discussions over the next family member--where to go, what we'd like (a Great Pyrenees for sure), how we'd manage the transition. Bringing a new pet into our family is not something we take lightly. At one point in our shared life, we had twelve dogs! How we managed that, I have no idea. But we did. And now we are a family of two canines. One seventeen or so (we don't know exactly), one almost eight or so (we don't know her age exactly either). We know we'd be devastated if anything happened to either one of them. We are also not in the position to be left as a one dog household. Ever.
After much hand wringing and back and forth discussion, both of us felt we needed to bring a puppy into our home. I've fretted and followed many Great Pyr puppy "people" for several years now. Cautious of the number of litters I'd see being offered, and how quickly the next showed up. I did NOT want a puppy mill experience. I'd watch from afar as the babies found new homes and their stories were told. For years I've done this. And always the Great Pyrenees. We've rescued three so far.
It was a relief to finally meet the breeder I felt most comfortable with. And mommy of the litter and daddy of the litter. Mommy the most lovable, hugging bear of a dog I'd ever seen. Actually standing to give me a hug as I was invited into the home. Then was introduced to the "babies".
And my heart just melted--all over again! I could have simply lay down with the mom and her pups and been content forever right there. I felt a happiness vibe like I'd not had in years. I was simply beside myself with joy. Yes. We will take her! But she still has to have some time with mom, so in three weeks is when she arrives.
Now what to call her? Dr. Thyme and I, how to say this, well, we had some disagreement about names. I had one thought, he had his thoughts. Then finally we came to a conclusion and decision together: Millie. Here name will be Millie--or we hope so. (A special name to me.) And one for which DH could live with. (Compromise in a marriage is really important.) We are giddy with anticipation.
I'd like to have Millie (or whatever we finally decide) trained to be a therapy dog to visit people in the hospital. As a breed, Great Pyrs are gentle giants. Very independent and wholly protective of their owners and property. I've always wanted to help people with long hospital stays with dog therapy. I remember my long hospital stay (from a dog bite) and how lonely those hours were as I waited for the next "visit" from the doctor/nurse or simply anyone. These dogs light up a room, not just as puppies but in their adult years as well. (I also remember my mother's last days in the hospital--a dog visiting her would have been just the ticket for her to smile.)
I'll keep you posted as the homecoming nears. Puppy selfies will be abundant!
And now for the here and now.
It's hard to believe what I am seeing on the news: police in riot gear. Tear gas. All over again.
I simply need this space to express what is in my heart.
Tragedy and grief unfolded here when a young, unarmed man was shot by a policeman over the weekend--an unimaginable thing for the parents and loved ones to endure. For anyone to endure. And now, headlines and more headlines: anger, frustration and demands for justice. Racial tension. Like an echo chamber from the past. I'm having flashbacks of another time in my life--only this time the pictures are in color and personal accounts are being shared via social media. The up-close and personal nature of the entire crisis is surreal.
I returned home late the other night after a meeting to a phone call with my sister--who lives in Chicago--saying she's worried for my "safety". God love her. Then I calmly reminded her of what I witnessed growing up in Gary, Indiana during the race riots of the sixties and seventies. Of school closings because of racial tensions. Of images of these riots being played over and over again on the news and of police force being used to bring calm to the streets. Of the fear. Of the up close and personal nature of these events: my returning to class to see crude epitaphs spray painted on the the lockers and walls, of broken glass, of nervous teachers trying to create a sense of normalcy for us. It was important to return to class--to routine. No time to clean the walls. Get the children back to class and into a safe environment. Then I reminded her of the three times we moved--I changed schools three times before junior high because we were part of the white flight. And, well, that's what a lot of families in Gary, Indiana were doing at that time. Segregation. I still bear scars from those upheavals today. (There are no long lasting friendship bonds from that time in my life either--because making friends and leaving them didn't allow for much bonding to take place.) Now in my fifties, I thought I'd lived through and seen the worst of times. That it could never happen again. My little safe haven: Missouri.
I don't know when calm will ensue here. This could take months, even years. As Dr. Thyme and I were discussing the headlines this morning, he was reminded of a quote and I thought it was perfect for this moment:
The only thing we learn from history is that we learn nothing from history.
--Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel
--Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel