After breakfast this morning I noticed that my soon to be eight month old German Shepherd Puppy was MIA. Generally, that would be cause for alarm. Someone once told me soon after we got Dexter, “silence with children is golden, but NOT with dogs!” Man, have I learned that the hard way. It means something in the house is in the process of being destroyed or already destroyed. It means my favorite flip flops have seen their last sunny day. My favorite sweatshirt will never be worn again because “Dexter the Molester” got to it. It means he has decided to eat a whole bag of glitter and transform into the Glitter Monster. It means he’s found my underwear and is off in a corner somewhere having his way with them…that “Dirty D!!!”
This morning, though, my gut told me otherwise. I took my last sip of tea and quietly made my way down the hallway. There he was, exactly where I thought I would find him. In his dog bed. I had a hunch he wasn’t feeling well this morning. So I did what any loving dog-mom would do, I got down on all fours and crawled into his hairy, stinky dog bed, taking the position of the small spoon next to him. And sure enough, two seconds later my insides felt warm as he wrapped his left paw around my shoulder and the two of us lay there listening to one another breathe. Dexter isn’t a big cuddle-er. I always wish he would be, but seeing we don’t let him in our bed or on the couch, I think his silent protest to us has been banning cuddles from us. So far he’s doing a marvelous job.
That’s why these mornings are rare and beautiful to me. In a lot of ways I assume having Dexter has been preparing me for some smaller version of what it will be like once this little avocado inside of me makes its big debut. We got Dexter when he was eight weeks old. And boy, I had NO idea what it meant to have a puppy. All I thought was, “Cool, floppy ears!” I had no clue. My parents have had a couple dogs over the years, but that doesn’t even rival what it means to have a puppy. I remember when we first got him, every night my husband and I would take shifts waking up every two to three hours to take him out until he was potty trained. I was dead tired those first two months we had him. I’ll never forget when he started losing his baby teeth all over the house, I was fascinated and disgusted all at the same time. I saved them all though!
The amount of attention that he requires has been unparalleled to anything else I have experienced up to this point. He’s constantly on ‘play-time” mode. He’s like the friggin’ energizer bunny, except his battery never gets old and stops working. Instead, it’s “Hey mom, can we play ball?? Can we play tug?? Will you chase me now?? Ooh, what’s that? Can I see?? Can I have some? Mom, come on, get up…here let me help you with my nose.”
Early mornings to myself, where I get to sit, sip my coffee, relax and read don’t exist anymore with Dexter. I give him a toy to play with, he drops it and it rolls under the couch. I get up from where I just got comfortable, get down on my hands and knees to retrieve it. I give it back to him and the whole process starts all over again. Drop, roll, retrieve. Drop, roll, retrieve. I go to the bathroom he comes with me. I take a shower he waits on the bathmat ready to lick my wet feet when I get out. I try and put my socks on he wants to help. Even now as I write this, Dexter lays right here beside me. My only reprieve at times comes at night when he’s asleep and I think: Finally, me time! The problem is, by that time, I’m too tired for me time and ready for bed myself.
Aside from all that though, he is the cutest, goofiest, fun-loving dog ever created this side of Heaven. That’s a fact! My husband says that the only reason I think that is because he’s our dog. He says all dog owners feel that way about their own dog. But I’m like, dude, have you seen the other dogs?! No seriously, I’ve seen the other dogs. With their rat faces, narly hair, and annoying barks. They ain’t got nothin’ on Dex. Aj just rolls his eyes in amusement.
All of this calms some mom-to-be anxieties within me though. It makes me realize that all moms love the crap out of their kids while at the same time being annoyed as hell with them. It’s normal. All moms think their kids are “the cutest” when in reality the other humans of the world whisper back and forth to one another, “Did you see the size of that kid’s head. What a freak. Man, I hope my kid doesn’t turn out looking like that!” That’s normal too. When you think about it, it’s pretty amazing how God instills in moms and dads an undying love and loyalty to a child that other grown adults in the world can’t stand! It makes me realize that God is preparing me, even now, with 5 months left to love and protect this precious gift that He is in the midst of forming and creating inside of me.