Sunday, June 07, 2009

My Widow Advice #20 Puppy Love

Dear Carol,

My grown kids surprised me with a puppy last night on Christmas Eve. He’s a cute little thing, (a beagle mix) but I was up all night with him and here it is Christmas Day and I’m exhausted.

They told me they didn’t want me to wake up alone this morning, my first holiday without my husband. I am not happy about this because I have told them repeatedly not to get me a dog.

They used to complain that their father didn’t want a dog in the house, but the truth is I was content to blame him when the kids were young and begged us for one. I’d theatrically throw up my hands in a ‘You know your Dad’ phony gesture.

My husband has been gone for 8 months and of course I am lonely, but I am planning some trips this winter and now I will be busy paper training and worrying about what to do with Buster (I named him Buster because of the shoe store Buster Brown and he is mostly brown) when I am away.

The kids knew I wasn’t happy, but they just laughed and said soon I would fall in love with him and thank them.

What should I do?

Suddenly a Dog Owner,

Dear Suddenly a Dog Owner, Ann,

First of all, congratulations on getting away with putting the blame on your husband all those years. It seemed to have worked, although maybe the kids were on to you and Buster is payback time.

Or, could it be that your husband had a deathbed request, “Promise me, kids, you’ll get your mother a puppy next Christmas.” Wouldn’t that be a kick in the head? (not literally) What a clever way for your husband to get even with you for letting him take the rap!

I am familiar with this particular pathology because my husband and I used to let other parents be the bad guys. We’d say yes to everything (trip with friends to Puerto Rico when our daughter was fifteen, sky diving and I believe I remember a no curfew policy at thirteen.)

Ann, you’re talking to the wrong person here. I love dogs. I didn’t have one when the kids were young because my husband was allergic. In those days there weren’t that many non-allergic breeds.

After my husband was gone a little over a year my gardener GAVE me Tony, a year old Morky (Yorkie & Maltese combo) I resisted, too at first because I wanted to come and go as I pleased. A dog would tie me down.

My friend Sheri nudged me to take him. She said she’d either be a hero or I’d hate her.

I didn’t fall in love immediately. It took 12 hours. Tony slept with me and that was it. (Am I a slut?) Now, I can’t imagine how I came home to an empty house that first year. Without a doubt, he is the best thing I have done.

My kids love him and my little granddaughter adores him and I have tons of friends who are happy to watch him when I go away. Sheri is a hero.

Give Buster a chance. He will bring life back into your house when you’re alone and your family will re-focus their love and begin to make new memories and traditions with Buster. He was a perfect holiday surprise. Let your kids be heros.


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