just ponderin'

… on a guide dog (er… puppy)

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Not a bad place to hang and ponder…

Thinking is hard work.

Growing is harder work.

But thinking might be a close second.

Especially how this brain does it.

I can’t describe it (mainly because my brain is pretty aware of what I’m doing when I’m not paying attention to it… and I don’t want to piss it off)… but let’s just say this brain’s thinking is…. interesting.

So, I’ve decided to bring Valor – the puppy who has stolen my heart – back to my friend, his breeder, tomorrow.

I know, I know.

You think you are sad?

I might have you beat.

I look like a melty snowman, gliding through the house all hunched over and trailing around a puddle made of tears.

I think my carrot just fell off the center of my face.

Never mind, the puppy ate it.

But it’s the right thing.

I’m clear on it.

But the time with him here?  Some people might say this may have been ‘meant to be’….

I mean, not me… cuz that would be all ‘woo woo funky town’.

But still…

So many things had to come together for the past few days to happen. His breeder is a dear friend of mine. I have never, ever known her to allow someone to take a dog off her farm for a ‘test drive’.  But she is a single mom who, in addition to her dogs, also had a litter of puppies to whelp this past weekend, and she wanted Valor to have time and attention.  She actually called this a ‘favor’ when we talked about it (hmmmm…. spending the weekend with an awesome puppy I have a crush on? I think I can do that.)

I am also never free in late August and into the fall, because of the aforementioned sixteen year old, who happens to play soccer.  But I had to be in Maine, due to a certain black hole (more on that later), so everything fell into place.

And I brought you along too, in a way. And we’ve had a lot of fun observing this soulful-eyed tri-paw’d superhero.  And the comments have been wonderful and hopeful and encouraging (and at times wicked funny), and I know you have been rooting for love and a soul connection. Because you are awesome and who doesn’t root for that?

But there was also a serious side to this journey for me.

I came up here to be with and think about Valor, who he really is, and what he might mean to me, and to my family. I also wanted to explore why I felt such a strong connection to him.

And my friend, his breeder, was awesome. She was texting that she didn’t think I needed a puppy. That she knew I’d give him a great home but I had to want to do the puppy thing again. And, she pointed out, that I said I did not want to do the puppy thing again, a long time ago, when Marshal Dillon Dingle was finally out of diapers.

So.

A puppy again…

Was the question that simple? Cuz if it was, then I should totally get the puppy!

And then I realized something, as I was thinking about Fred and Blaze and Marshal Dillon Dingle (and John and Gabe and Granny and Grampa and the UPS Guy who Marshal Dillon Dingle is certain is going throw him in a box and ship him somewhere without a tracking number).

I have three dogs, and they are still works in progress (well, Blaze might object to that).

But also?

I want a heart dog. And, for some reason, I was thinking that – with three other dogs – this was a selfish thing.

After I’d held T for the last time, almost two years ago, and brought Marshal Dillon Dingle home soon after (giving the Nearly Perfect Husband his first heart dog in decades). I was fine. I loved the other dogs.

I didn’t need my own heart dog again.

I told myself it was about the numbers. We had four dogs with Marshal coming home. Five would have been ridiculous (we are in my mind here, remember).

When Monty died, we said that three dogs was a much better number than four. We wouldn’t get another dog to take Monty’s spot in the roster.  We could happily play a man down.

But the past few days have actually been very emotional for me.

I realized that I have a hole in my heart, still, since T. And it isn’t lost on me that I took T home just six months after I’d lost my beloved eleven year old ShepHerd, Ripley, to cancer.

Two heart dogs in two years.

It had been a one-two punch.

Seeing Valor last week, for the fist time – this bold, confident, German ShepHerd puppy with three legs (who happened to be the same age as ‘T’ was when I got him (I realized this later))- I got that ‘click’. And it turns out that ‘click’ was multi-faceted.

On the one hand, it was spot on. Valor is a great puppy. He is all German ShepHerd. His 3/4’d-ness just makes him a pretty dang cute one.

Also, my time with him helped me realize that wanting a heart dog is not a selfish thing.

It’s a great reason to want a dog.

But my friend was right, as good breeders often are (they are all witches or mystics I think – matchmakers at their cores). I have not been yearning for a puppy. Sure, he is cute and smart and has great eyes… and he is also shiny and brand new. But to do a puppy justice – to raise him into a phenomenal dog – one should probably feel that they need and want… you know… a puppy.

My next heart dog will be my heart dog in no small part because he or she fits into my world.

And that world contains one Marshal Dillon Dingle. Who needs a dog to set an example for him, not follow him around, kissing his ass and supporting his questionable decision-making skills.

I love my current dogs. And now I realize that I haven’t let them all the way into my heart. And they deserve really great accommodations there.

I’m going to make sure they get them.

Yep. Blaze will need the presidential suite.

My current dogs also deserve to be considered if and when I find my heart dog. And when I considered them in relation to this puppy, I realized the time it would take to raise Valor right would mean a lot of time taken away from the other three, one of whom is not even close to well-trained.

No, it’s not Fred.

Nope. Not Blaze.

Any more guesses?

Maybe it will be all Wizard-of-Oz-y and I will find my heart dog right in my own back yard, now that I’m all open to it.   Or he might be out there, working his way toward me as I type.

Like, figuratively. I don’t think he (or she) is crawling through a desert, in my general direction, right this very minute.

If dogs come into our lives for a reason – perhaps as guides along our paths – then I think this little, Valorious man came into mine to bring me clarity (and no small dose of great kisses and snuggles).

And though I am clear that a puppy isn’t the best move for me and my family of humans and dogs right now, there is a pretty great one who still needs a home.

He is fresh from a vacation in Maine.

And his attitude is awesome.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThanks, buddy. 

Thanks for readin’.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAs always, you can come on over to Just Ponderin’s Facebook page to comment or just hang out.

 

Elena Peters

midlife blogger & pinterest master

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