Since my last few posts you have probably noticed that I’ve been away from my computer quite a bit. It’s not for lack of work going on here, but mostly the overwhelming amount of things to do has left my down time at a minimum. Balancing two homes, two kids, and a maternity leave that is close to expiring, you can imagine the hustle that is taking place. That being said I’d like to apologize to my readers who follow me, comment on my posts and patiently wait for new ones.
Our news from the Dream Home is the addition of our new member.
Meet Cody. (Sorry for the terrible picture quality – photos are from my iphone). Cody is a female, Bernese mountain dog puppy. She is shy, an amazing cuddle buddy (for Oscar and human alike), and she has brought a new joy into our home.
And before everyone jumps the gun and becomes experts on grief and dogs alike, please listen to what I have to say.
First off, yes, I completely understand that our family needs to grieve over our recent loss. But if you think a new dog prevents that then you don’t know our family. I believe it is possible to love more than one pet, whole heartedly. And if you disagree, then I imagine you don’t own pets, or have children. Ask any mother, to a fur baby, or flesh baby, and they will tell you it is possible. Let’s look at twins for example, do you think a mother is only capable of loving one? Of course not! They will each have different traits, different interests, they are separate individuals and are loved as such. That’s how we feel about Cody and Maddie. Maddie was an amazing dog. She loved our family unconditionally and was an amazing soul. We still weep for her. But we also look out our kitchen window every day and see her, and miss her. And feel consumed by the love we can no longer give her but still try to do so everyday.
Secondly, I understand that Cody is the same gender, and same breed as Maddie. We’ve had a lot of people ask if she serves as a “replacement” or “reminder” of the dog we lost. The answer to them is always “no”. Maddie can never be replaced. And I find it ignorant of others to even ask these questions. They are the same breed but look completely different to us. Their markings are different, coloring is not identical, and their eyes could never be mistaken for each other. Even their personalities are complete opposite. Maddie was the first to run to the door to greet you, while Cody runs towards me and shy’s away from company. She hides behind my legs and waits for me to approach anyone before she’ll do the same.
We wanted the same breed for the same reason Maddie was chosen for her breed the first time around. They are big teddy bears, great with children, require exercise but not all day like border collies for example. They are beautiful to look at, and from experience with Maddie, we knew another Bernese Mountain Dog would be a good fit for us. We knew what to expect from the breed, and we knew we would have the space and attention to allow for one in the home.
Lastly, we hear comments about “didn’t you learn anything from Maddie”.. And the answer to that is “Yes, we did”. Before we even entertained the idea of a new pet, and the timing of it all, we made changes. We installed the in ground fence that we had purchased for Maddie. We made sure that this perimeter went nowhere near the road, end of the driveway, or neighbors’ yards. We installed solar lights in the yard to be able to always have eyes on the pets at night. We purchased new ID tags, new collars, and researched new training techniques. We extended our tree line of cedars (we covered almost both sides of our property entirely), allowing a very clear visual queue that our dogs cannot cross that line.
We had debated waiting for a new pet, and ultimately decided the timing was right, and more beneficial, now. I am still on maternity leave, and will be for a few more weeks, and it seemed optimal for training, and small bladders, that someone be home full time with her. We’ve had huge success with potty training, crate training, even simple command training. And Oscars’ anxiety has gone down drastically! He will even sneak into her kennel at night instead of using his own so he can sleep with her. They play well together and are always close by, I think he missed having a friend.
And most importantly, we learned not to take our pups for granted. We treasure each moment, each slobbery kiss, each wagging tail when we enter the room. Her victories are our victories. I enjoy her company, as does the other members of this family. I think she was ultimately a ray of sunshine on a never ending stormy day for us. We take her to Maddie’s grave often, as we do with Oscar as well. We will never forget our first Berner love, but we have learned she will not be our last either.