I KNOW. But here’s what happened. Two weeks ago I was driving the kids home from Sunday school and when I got to the intersection where the Humane society is located, I felt the command to turn.
“Where’re we going?” Gabe asked.
“Let’s go look at dogs.”
“Are we getting one????” Annie squealed from the back seat.
“Only if there are puppies” I said. In the almost two years since Sugar crossed the Rainbow Bridge there have never been puppies at the Humane society. Not. Even. Once. But that day, there were four. Litter mates, surrendered without parents so only God knows a single thing about their pedigree–probably closer to ketchup than whole wheat. Two of them were all black, one looked like a black and white Springer Spaniel and one was colored like a German Shepherd.
He was the most chill. I sent Shea this picture:
He texted “You had one job. Go to Sunday School. WHY ARE YOU AT THE HUMANE SOCIETY???.”
“God made me” I texted back. “I’ll explain when we get home.”
Other kids wait for their moms to say “Yes”. But my kids know when I text dad the picture, the deal is sealed. If it was up to me, we’d live on five acres and breed bassets. If it was up to Shea, we’d own a zoo.
Surely it is not news that our crazy sits on the front porch and hollers at the neighbors. What’s one more dog? Especially when he’s cute.
Wednesday, we had to put our beloved Sugar girl down. She was 13 and it was time, but I’ve never had to make a decision like that before and it was awful.
Friday was my Reggie Jackson birthday. It’s a big number. Look it up.
We went to the coast for the day, where a giant seagull got into our car through the open sunroof and ate our picnic.
Shea and Gabe got hit by a scary rogue wave at the beach.
Gabe was carrying a glass bottle off the beach and up the trail when he slipped and smashed the bottle into the rocks with his hand. He cut himself good.
Saturday, I went looking for some Kleenex. There was none. Not one square of facial tissue left in the whole house. And no wonder.
Yep, last week sucked. And then, in the middle of the crap, this happened:
After the girls shower every night, they get dressed in a tumble of pajamas and towels and dogs. When they got out the shower on Wednesday night, it was the first time there was just a dog.
Kate fell into a sobbing heap on the floor.
I left her with Shea while I dressed Annie and coaxed Lizzie into the kitchen for her medicine. When I came back to the room, Kate had calmed down enough to say “Mama, can we pray?”
I don’t remember her exact words, but she asked for God to take good care of Sugar and make sure she was with her family. She asked Him to tell Sugar that we love her and miss her. She asked Him to help us all feel better.
And then I asked God to send Sugar to Kate in her dreams so that she would know Sugar was ok.
The next morning, Kate came bursting into our room.
“Guess what?! I had a dream about Sugar! I was walking her with Lizzie and they were running and jumping and she was happy and her legs were fixed! I am SO GLAD that God answered our prayer!”
Then she went dancing back out the door. And she’s been ok ever since.
What do you do with a week like this? I don’t know. I’m living in a house with two dog beds, two dog food bowls, one dog and a puppy finder app on my phone. I got nothing, except the only way out is through.
Sugar is 12 and the greatest dog in the history of dogs. Seriously.
Lizzie is almost 3. She is not the greatest dog. She is not even the greatest basset hound. She has a very pure heart, but she’s 70 lbs of ready, fire, aim.
She and Sugar rarely see eye to eye and as Sugar gets older and more arthritic, Lizzie has begun to assert her place in the pack.
Shea is not having this. Sugar is his dog and he will fight to preserve her place. Even though I have told him that dogs do this. The leadership naturally passes to the younger dog. It’s useless for us to interfere. There’s nothing we can say or do.
This does not stop him from trying.
So when Lizzie started barking at Sugar constantly last weekend, Shea had no patience.
Lizzie barked at Sugar to get up from her bed. Shea yelled at Lizzie to stop.
Lizzie barked from the top of the stairs at Sugar down at the bottom. Sugar whined back and Shea chased Lizzie down the stairs and out the doggie door.
Lizzie howled from downstairs at Sugar asleep in her bed. Over and over and over. “She needs to leave Sugar alone” Shea said. But I wasn’t sure that was it.
I did a once over on the floors. Sugar has been known to have accidents and Lizzie has been known to tattle on her.
I checked their food and water. I fed them. We have to separate them and this resulted in Lizzie barking frantically at the closed door where Sugar was eating.
I told Shea “She’s not barking at Sugar. She’s trying to tell us something.”
So Shea checked the backyard for signs of critters, invaders, space aliens. Nothing.
This went on for four days.
Yesterday afternoon, Lizzie set up a giant fuss in the girls’ room. I finally called her up the stairs and she came. But then she whined at Sugar in her bed for five minutes until I made Gabriel take her for a walk.
Last night she did it again. And let me just say again, she’s a basset hound. She only has one volume: full-throated. It reverberates through the body.
I’d had enough. Off I stomped down the stairs.
Lizzie was on pointe in the doorway of the girls’ room. That gave me pause.
When I stepped into the room, she gave one last bark and bolted.
Holy moly, I thought. What’s in here?
Then I saw it.
When Lizzie was barking at Sugar to get out of her bed, what she was really saying was “DUDE! There’s something down there!!! Get up!! I don’t know what it is!! Get up! Get up! Get up!”
Then “It’s right there. Right there. RIGHT. THERE. Be careful. But get it! Get it! Get it!”
And “PEOPLE. I don’t want food. There is a thing in the house that is going to eat the children if you don’t get it right now!!!!
She was right.
Beware the sheepskin.
My inlaws gave it to the kids on Sunday. Since then it has been spread out and folded up in different places all over the house. At one point Gabe put it on and chased his sisters around.
To a dopey dog with a small brain, I’m sure it looked like a monster. A monster that moved, curled up on the couch and slept on the floor in the girls room.
Poor thing. Just trying to keep us all safe.
Shea has apologized.
And I’m pretty sure that Sugar laughed herself to sleep.