We lost our little Ruby at the end of the summer. I’m late with the news but she was attacked by dogs and McKenna saw it happen and I can’t think about it for long before I hear the screams echoing all over again.
Mark and I always joked that she was a therapy pig but it wasn’t really a joke. When McKenna couldn’t process emotions she went to Ruby, pulling her to her lap or climbing into the space where she slept. She talked to her and pet her until she was calm again. Animals seem to offer McKenna an escape from her anxiety that we cannot.
Luckily, we had been talking about getting a dog long before Ruby’s accident. We had visited a few pet adoption fairs and researched what kind of puppy would offer the best support for McKenna. Once we lost Ruby our search for a dog became a frantic process to put a band-aid over the loss of her favorite animal. Whether this is the right way to help kids cope didn’t really cross our minds, we just knew she needed something/someone fast.
Max has been with us for three weeks. When I drag my favorite boot from his mouth he heads for the crayon that rolled off the table and he has more energy at 5 am than I have on coffee cup number three. The kids love him most when he’s sleeping and we’re in search of antler ears so he can be the Sven to McKenna’s Elsa for Halloween.
Having a puppy has brought a sense of immediacy to our days. If I stare at my phone or sit at my laptop for too long I’m shampooing pee out of the carpet five minutes later.
Does Max need to go out?
What’s the dog eating?
Did you give him more water?
Who wants to go for a walk?
Look how many leaves have fallen since yesterday.
You can still see the stars in the sky at 6 am.
I am not in love with every moment of having a dog and if I said “raise your hand if you cleaned up dog poop today” my hand would be the only one up high but wow, do we love this guy.
I’ve never been a huge pet person and McKenna’s bond with animals is still not something I totally understand but my days of rolling my eyes at people who get pet-sitters are over.
We got Max for McKenna, to help her heal from the trauma of losing Ruby and cope with her daily anxiety.
We’re keeping Max for all of us. I might have needed him the most.
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