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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

Love is Lovelier the Second Time Around (or even the twentieth…)

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Tell us about a book you can read again and again without getting bored — what is it that speaks to you?

via Daily Prompt: Second Time Around.

Love is lovelier the second time around
Just as wonderful with both feet on the ground (Second Time Around   – as sung by Frank Sinatra)

As I have mentioned many many times, I am wrapping up my 15th year of teaching.  I am a big proponent of the teacher-read-aloud – even in the upper grades.  I read to my class every day and use it as a jumping off point for so many lessons and discussions.  It is the most special time of our day.  I have students who are now in their mid-twenties who tell me they can still remember certain books I read to them and how much they loved it.  For some of my students, it has been what has made them fall in love with books.

I put a lot of thought in what I chose to read to them.  And I try not to just read the same book year after year.  After all, while THEY may not have read it, I would get bored reading the same things all the time.  With one exception…

I have read Where the Red Fern Grows, by Wilson Rawls to nearly every single class in the past 15 years.  It has become a link to each class.  Siblings from a previous class will ask the brother or sister in my current class if I have read it yet.  It sticks with them.

For those of you who are not aware of the book (and if you haven’t ever read it – read it…it is great), Where the Red Fern Grows, is the story of Billy Coleman, a young boy growing up in the backwoods of the Ozarks somewhere around the Depression.  Billy’s family isn’t just poor, they are dirt poor, living off the land.  However, Billy decides he wants some dogs.  And not just any ol’ dogs.  He wants hunting dogs.  Specifically Redbone Coonhounds.  His parents want to help him, but they can’t.  So, Billy works for over two years to gather enough money to buy his beloved dogs.  And that’s where the story really begins.

“It’s strange indeed how memories can lie dormant in a man’s mind for so many years. Yet those memories can be awakened and brought forth fresh and new, just by something you’ve seen, or something you’ve heard, or the sight of an old familiar face.”  
―     Wilson Rawls,     Where the Red Fern Grows

It is a story of perseverance and determination.  It is about setting a goal and not letting anything get in your way.  But mostly it is a story about undying love and devotion.

I have read the book somewhere around 20 times – independently as a child, to my classes and to my own children.  It still makes me laugh and it still makes me cry.  Real tears, not just brimming in my eyes.  Every single time.

I will probably be looping with my class next year.  Meaning, I’ll be going with them from 4th to 5th, with most of the class intact.  And since I read it to my students this year, I won’t be reading it to them again.  And I am a little sad about that.  I look forward to reading it every year.  So, looks like I’ll have to read it to my own children.  I read it to Monkey #1 when he was 8.  The Middle Monkey heard it from his 4th grade teacher (a fellow teacher who also reads it to her class every year).  The Girl Child has yet to hear it.  Perhaps it is time.

“It’s a shame that people all over the world can’t have that kind of love in their hearts,” he said.  “There would be no wars, slaughter, or murder; no greed or selfishness.  It would be the kind of world that God wants us to have – a wonderful world.”  
―     Wilson Rawls,     Where the Red Fern Grows