Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Welcome Home

Fifteen months ago we were Lab-less. Our two previous faithful friends--Stoney, our 15-year-old Black Lab female, and Strider, our 12-year-old Yellow Lab male --passed on within six months of each other. And for a full six months we had no dogs.

For a second or two (okay, maybe a few weeks, but it seems like a second now), I felt relieved. Certainly, I grieved Stoney's loss (Strider died six month earlier), but I celebrated that she no longer suffered. And, honestly, it was nice to not have to work so hard to keep the house clean. No dogs=no shedding. No shedding=less vaccuuming. And I could actually Windex our back door, and its full-length glass pane stayed crystle clean.

Relief, however, gave way to void. No dogs also equalled no one to fetch the ice I dropped from the ice dispenser whenever I filled my glass. No dogs meant no one to keep my feet warm on cool summer evenings (let alone winter nights). No dogs meant little to giggle over in our work-a-day existence. And no dogs meant no one would be here to welcome me when I came home.

My comings and goings usually happen during the day when my husband and oldest son are at work and my youngest son is in high school (my daughter is out-of-state at college). I come home to a person-less house. When we had Stoney and Strider, at least I didn't come home to an empty house. For those six months after Stoney died I came home to echoing silence.

I lasted six months. :o) Our dog-less house felt way too sterile; it was just too clean. And it was quiet. Too quiet. So we found Baxter, then seven-weeks-old, to fill the void. Six months later we added then-three-year-old Ridge. But our growing family seemed incomplete. We needed a "girl." Sweet Elsie joined the fray when she was eight weeks old. Now, five months into our three-Lab experiment, the house feels full and alive again.

Sure, it's work. The back door never stays clean. And, of course, the three "kids" have to have different shedding cycles so it seems we're in a perpetual shed. But our wiggling, welcoming critters have become our giggle factor. They bring life and joy to our lives.

And when I get home, all three let me know I'm loved. I wouldn't have it any other way.

'Til next time,

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