I love dogs. Well to be completely honest, for many years I loved other people’s dogs, but never saw myself as a dog owner. Not that I thought I couldn’t love a dog of my own; it was just the idea of having to clean up after muddy paws and being responsible for yet another living creature was not high on my priority list. I was at an age when thoughts of an empty nest had grown enticing and exciting.
In a moment of sheer weakness that all changed. Shortly after our oldest headed off to college I came nose to nose with the cutest boxer puppy I had ever seen. My friends thought I was absolutely crazy, reminding me that in order for the empty nest syndrome to occur you had to get them all out without bringing something in to take its place. I appreciated their knowledge, but obviously didn’t pay attention because months later I found myself rescuing a sickly unwanted chi-mix puppy and recently I further added to our fur family by opening our home to our first foster dog; otherwise known as Karma the foster failure. She instantly stole my heart and went from foster to family member.
As you can imagine a household with three dogs of various sizes and distinct personalities is a definite challenge and at times very chaotic. Everything is multiplied by three. There are three times the bowls to fill, three times the dogs to exercise and walk and three times the muddy paws to clean up after and yet in all the appearance of chaos comes serenity. Regardless of what I think it is I should be doing at any given time; I have to take time outs to accommodate their needs.
Bella-Meeshka will insist I throw the tennis ball no less than fifty times. Karma will attempt to steal away said ball in an effort to encourage a game of hide and seek despite Bella’s annoyance. And all 45 pounds of Holly will try her best to climb up in my lap where she thinks she could fit nicely despite the fact she is the only non lap size dog in the family. There will also be numerous ears that need to be scratched; bellies that need to be rubbed and of course many efforts to sneak in kisses. Surprisingly the one who benefits the most from all this interaction is me. It is the greatest stress reliever I know and reminds me how necessary time-outs are to my well-being.
Oh, and in regard to those muddy paw prints I once avoided…they are a small price to pay for so much love and joy.
Gina McNew is a mother of three who lives in the suburbs of Atlanta with her husband of nearly 28 years in a not so empty nest. When she is not distracted by tossing tennis balls or giving belly rubs to one of her beloved fur children she spends time writing.
About the Author
Gina McNew is the founder of Its Hip to Be Hot. Having found herself in the beginning stages of menopause, she launched the site as a means to bring encouragement, inspiration and humor to a time in life in which she hopes women will take charge instead of taking cover. Her articles have appeared in numerous publications including More Magazine online. She is also a huge advocate for animal rescue groups and assists where she can in helping to bring awareness to the needs of animals in shelters. You can connect with her at www.facebook.com/ ItsHipToBeHot.com
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