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The Two Little Piggies

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I have a love-hate relationship with teaching. The hours are horrible. The pay is a pittance. The work never stops – nights, weekends, vacations. There are times where it is as if no one wants to hear a word I am saying, and all I am doing is putting out one behavior fire after another. Not to mention all the times I have had to tell  the Three Monkeys that I can’t do something with them or for them because I have had something to do for the class.

It is EXHAUSTING.

And then there are times when it all is so incredibly breathtakingly amazing.

This is the story of the two little piggies – guinea piggies that is – and how an act of kindness lifted my heart in so many ways.

Way back in August, my students and I decided we wanted to get guinea pigs for our classroom. We had everything we needed. Cage? Check. Food? Check. Hay? Check. Guinea pigs? Ummm…

It’s not that I didn’t want them. I did! But, guinea pigs cost money. And with the pay cut I took in order to work at this little piece of academic heaven, I never had the spare change to go get them.

That damned empty cage sitting in my classroom mocked me every single day.

And then this week something serendipitous happened. I came across a listing for two male guinea pigs (cage included) FREE to a good home. Needless to say, I jumped on it. FINALLY we were going to get our piggies! I went to school the next day and excitedly told my class the news. The squeals of delight filled the room. We couldn’t wait!

That evening I took Monkey #1 (now 15 1/2, if you can believe it) and The Middle Monkey (almost 14!) to go pick up our new furry friends, Sergeant and Lieutenant – AKA Sarge and Louie. Together, the boys and I loaded the cage into the car and headed home. Upon arriving, we unloaded the cage to the kitchen table where they would wait until the next day when I would move them to their new home – my classroom.

There was just one little hitch in the plan. Something unexpected happened. In the span of about 10 minutes, Monkey #1 fell head=over-heels-hopelessly-in-love with Sarge and Louie. The very guinea pigs that were destined to go to my class the very next day.

All Wednesday evening, Monkey 1, my sweet little Aspie Monkey, was crouched on a kitchen chair, arms wrapped around his knees, gazing through the open cage door at Sarge and Louie.  He was so calm. So peaceful. Nothing, not meds wearing off, not his brother being very 13, was ruffling him. Occasionally he would tentatively extend one finger and stroke one of the piggies.

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“But, I love them,”

And then came the words that broke my heart. “I wish I could keep them,” he quietly whispered.

“But, baby, I’ve already told my class about them, and they are very excited about the piggies coming. You know they are meant to go to school.”

“I know,” he sighed. “But, I love them. I know I just met them. I can’t explain it. I love them.”

Oy.

I tried to make light, but I could tell, this was no ordinary love. This was a deep piggy love, and I – the worst mother in the whole wide world – was ripping them away from him. Not that he told me that. But he might as well have, because that is exactly how I felt.

The next morning, I brought the piggies to school. More squeals of delight. I told my school kiddos the story of Monkey 1 and his love of the piggies and how he had wanted to keep them. I don’t know why I told them. Except that maybe I have a case of verbal diarrhea and just talk even when I shouldn’t. But I did.

Today I got a message from one of my parents. Her daughter had told her about Monkey 1 falling in love with the piggies. Then the sweet girl asks her mother if there was a way that we could get other pets for the class and return the piggies to my son. Because obviously God wanted my sweet son and the sweet piggies to be together. The piggies belonged to him. Not the class.

I didn’t know how to respond. I was literally speechless. All that came were tears.

In the hours that followed, that mother asked and searched, and has now located another pair of guinea pigs for my class to have. All so my sweet Aspie Monkey can keep Sarge and Louie.

His response when I told him was to bury his head in my shoulder and repeatedly say, “I get to keep my boys. I get to keep my piggies.”

Yes you do, my sweet boy. Yes you do.

So while it means there will be more living things in my house, every single time I see those little furballs, every time I see that little smile on Monkey #1’s face, I will think of the sweet girl who knew it was meant to be – even when I didn’t.

And I’ll remember the time my student and her family taught me a lesson in kindness and compassion I’ll never forget.

Falling in Love Again? The Update

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Princess - Blurry because she wanted to go to The Monkeys - not stand still for a picture...

Princess – Blurry because she wanted to go to The Monkeys – not stand still for a picture…

Well, we did it.  The Monkeys and I went to meet the two dogs we hope to adopt.

Needless to say, it went well.

Very well.

The Monkeys covered the girls with hugs and kisses, and received doggy kisses in return.  The girls were sweet and gentle and not in the least bit shy (which in our house is a REALLY good thing).  It was love at first sight.

Two dogs.  Three Monkeys.  Only two leashes.  Three Monkeys all wanting to walk the dogs.  It is an exercise in time-sharing.  “Ok, Monkey #1, it is your sister’s turn to hold Princess’s leash.  You can take Baby from Middle Monkey for a while.”

Baby - smiling

Baby – smiling

I knew we were done when I looked over at Monkey #1, and he was crouching in his little “Gollum” pose – with a shy little grin on his face.  That little smile said it all.  “Those are our dogs.”

Unfortunately, we couldn’t bring them home with us today.  Princess will have her final heartworm treatment Monday, then she needs a period of calm (which of course she wouldn’t have here).  So, we scheduled for the dogs to come visit the house in two weeks.  If that goes well, they will come home to stay the next weekend.

The Monkeys wanted them to come home with us today.  And really, who could blame them.  It is hard to fall in love and then have to be separated from your love.

Oh, sure, the girls will need a little training.  Namely, pulling – Princess nearly dragged The Girl Child.  But then again, I am going to have to train The Monkeys on how to walk a dog on a leash!

As we were driving home, it occurred to me that I am not replacing Duffey.  He is still with me.  Instead what I am doing is allowing The Monkeys to have doggy memories of their own.  Their memories of Duffey are hazy.  And he was old in those memories.  These dogs are young and vivacious and playful.  Just what my silly monkeys need.  And THOSE are the memories that will hold them for the rest of their lives.

Memories of two dogs.  And love at first sight.

Falling in Love Again?

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PrincessToday’s the day.

The Monkeys and I are going to be meeting the dogs that just may become the newest members of our family.

Yes.  You read that correctly.  DOGS.  As in more than one.

I never intended on adopting TWO dogs.  I mean, I haven’t had more than one dog since I was a kid.  And they were mother and daughter.  But, apparently, these two come as a package deal.

As I mentioned in a previous post, it has taken me 4 years to feel ready to bring a new furry friend into our home.  But, then I saw Princess.  And I felt those familiar feelings of doggy love.  I fought that feeling for months.  It was a valiant fight.  But, I continued to feel “called” to her.  About a month ago, I sent an inquiry to the rescue group about her.   Was she still available?

Yes.  She was.  She was very much available.  She was undergoing treatment for heartworms, but her prognosis was fabulous.  She would be ready in a month or so.

The Monkeys and I were ecstatic!  We were going to do this!

Then came the news that they were hoping to adopt Princess out with Baby.  You, see the girls were rescued out from the same situation.  They had been kept outside – on four-foot long chains.  They had been kicked and beaten and all round mistreated.  That is until angels intervened and they were saved. (Yes, the woman was arrested).  And because of this, the girls were strongly bonded and they really did not want to separate them.

I was crushed.  Two dogs.  TWO DOGS!  I couldn’t do that.  I mean, it’s so much.  And the expense.  And TWO DOGS!

Reluctantly, I sent a message to the foster mom telling her that while I felt such a strong calling to Princess, I just didn’t think I could swing the second adoption cost.  She sweetly replied they were a package deal.  Buy one – get one, if you will.

Well, there went that excuse.

The Monkeys and I talked about it.  Needless to say, they don’t have the same qualms I have.

I told the foster mom that before we made a decision we needed to meet the girls.  All of us.

Well, today is the day.  Today, The Monkeys and I will be driving the 50 miles or so to meet the girls.  And while I am trying to keep a level head about it, I am afraid, I am alone in that.  As far as The Monkeys are concerned, the girls are already ours.  The Girl Child in particular.  This morning when The Monkey Daddy dropped them off, she came RUNNING upstairs and FLUNG herself onto my bed screaming, “WHEN DO WE LEAVE TO SEE THE DOGS!!!!??????!!!!!”

My fear is, what happens if we get there, and it doesn’t work out?  What if we don’t feel that connection?  What if?  What if?  What if?!

In case you haven’t noticed, sometimes I can over think things…

This feels like a first date.  A first date with someone I’ve met on-line, seen pictures of, chatted on-line with, but am just now meeting in person.  I am nervous and excited and terrified and hopeful all at the same time.

The Monkeys, on the other hand, have already decided this will be their happily ever after.

In a way, I guess they just may be right.  I mean, in most fairy-tales, there is a Princess…and after that – a Baby…

 

 

An Unexpected Love

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Duffey was always in the middle of everything.  Every Christmas I would have picture of him buried in wrapping paper.

Duffey was always in the middle of everything. Every Christmas I would have picture of him buried in wrapping paper.

via Daily Prompt: I Want to Know What Love Is.

Some of the most amazing relationships in my life have come about when I wasn’t looking for one to happen.  The night I met the Monkey Daddy.  My former love.

Such a happy dog...

Such a happy dog..

My first baby…

No.  I didn’t have a child I haven’t talked about before.  This baby wasn’t a “human” child.  He was a furry one.  A VERY furry one.

He was a dog.  Duffey.

The day I found Duffey (or I should probably say, he found me), I wasn’t expecting to fall in love.  I was just looking at the puppies.  And then he looked up at me from out of his cage with his silly little grin and that right ear flopped over his head – and his chocolate-brown eyes locked with mine – and I was lost.

I actually walked out of the store, got into the car, and started driving away.  Then the tears came.  I knew I couldn’t leave him.  He was mine.  So, I turned around and walked back in and didn’t leave again until that 11 pound 11 week old collie/shepherd mix was with me.

He was the sweetest dog.  Always happy.  Playful.  A tiny bit mischievous.  And BIG.  85 pounds of love.

Duffey was in my life before The Monkey Daddy.  Before any of the Three Monkeys.  But, Duffey welcomed each one of them into our lives like they were meant to be there.  He was so good with the Monkeys.  They crawled on him.  Used him as a back rest.  Fed him from their high chairs.  Every night we would hear him make his rounds into each of the children’s rooms – checking on them – making sure they were safe.

The Girl Monkey with her two best friends, Duffey and Kitty Kat (the rabbit)

The Girl Monkey with her two best friends, Duffey and Kitty Kat (the rabbit)

His bond with The Girl Child was the strongest.  She loved him almost as much as me or her father or her brothers or even her beloved Kitty Kat (her lovey…yes it is a rabbit – long story).

I knew he wouldn’t be around forever.  After he turned 10, I pretty much considered every additional month with him a gift.  After he turned 13, he started aging more rapidly.  Within 6 months he lost most of his hearing, had doggy dementia, became incontinent, walking became harder.  I stopped letting him go up and down the stairs.  In this same time period, my marriage was coming to an end.  I couldn’t bear the thought of losing Duffey, too.  But it was coming – faster and faster.

Then came the day when he could not stand.  At all.  Not even with help.  He wouldn’t eat.  He barely drank.  And I knew it was time for us all to say our final good-byes and with love let Duffey go.  It was the day before Monkey #1 was to come back from his trip to France with his grandmother.  So I had to make the agonizing decision to either wait until #1 came back, or have him not be able to say good-bye to his beloved dog.  I decided to wait until he came home.

I still miss him.  And I swear, even four years later, I still find some of his long hair in corners of closets.  (Every summer he would blow that double coat – and we would be knee-deep in fur. )  I know that dogs like him don’t come along every day.

It has taken me four years, but I think I am ready to enter into a new furry romance.  Ironically, it has taken me longer to feel ready to “replace” Duffey than The Monkey Daddy… Please don’t take offense to that when you read that, Monkey Daddy!  🙂

The Monkeys and I have been searching for the perfect rescue dog, and we think we might have found it.  Her picture stirred the same feelings in me like I had with Duffey,  Something is pulling me to her.  We will meet her for the first time next weekend.  We are all nervous.  We want it to go well, but we also all know that we can’t let pure emotion rule this decision.   With any luck this furry baby will be with us for a long time, and we have to make sure she will make a good addition to our family.

Of course, the last time I was in this position, I did let my heart rule my head – and look how beautifully that turned out.

Maybe this will be just as grand.

Monkey #1 and Duffey

Monkey #1 and Duffey

The Middle Monkey with his favorite pillow

The Middle Monkey with his favorite pillow