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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Lisa Packer says
He’s adorable! Just hang in there. The first two years are really rough. Just like babies, everything goes into their mouths. That’s how they learn about the world. After that, it gets much easier.
Such a lovely soft puppy! The smooth fur of him looks like I wish I had my sweater like this! (of course not from real dog fur) How did you manage to teach him not to shot on the floor? We also have got a small puppy (a border collie) but the little princess doesn’t want to go out when she needs …
Theres Just One Mommy says
What an adorable pup! The bond kids have with their pets can really be amazing…I hope you have your little guy a long, long time!
Kathy at kissing the frog says
While I’m so sad about Ruby, I’m happy that you’ve found Max. We need a dog for Slim, but I’m not sure I’m ready. I know that’s selfish. I’m trying to come around though.
julie gardner says
Every day, for the first two years we had our yellow lab, she found something to destroy. No matter how hard we worked to keep toys off the floor. Despite the fencing we drilled RIGHT INTO OUR LIVING ROOM WALL. She was a sweet, adorable little disaster.
Then, like a miracle (at least for the one cleaning up after her) she became a dog.
Not a puppy. A dog.
And we all love her so much we can hardly stand ourselves.
Hang in there. The chewing and the poop will be but memories. In a couple of years.
Deep breaths in the meantime.
Erin P says
So sorry to hear of the loss of Ruby. It must be heartbreaking for the whole family, but it’s gotta be hitting McKenna the hardest, hopefully Max has started to fill that Ruby sized whole in her heart(even though I’m sure a dog. no matter how cute, will ever completely fill Ruby’s void). How awful for her it must have been to witness the attack of her beloved Ruby. I’m an adult & I think I’d be traumatized if I witnessed a vicious life taking animal attack on my pet or any animal in general. I actually had totally forgotten you guys even had Ruby. I recently saw a video someone posted on Facebook of cute little out of the ordinary pets & I’m pretty sure some of them were miniature pigs and if I didn’t want one of my own then(which I secretly did) after going back and reading your introductory post to Ruby again, I sure want one now. She was so cute!
Hope all continues to work out well with Max!
Awwww, I’m so so sorry to hear about Ruby and of course McKenna. That is incredibly heartbreaking 🙁 I understand the bond that humans share with animals–but maybe that’s because I, too, sometimes feel a better connection with my canine friends than I do with people. I wish you all a happy life with your new pup–he’s absolutely adorable. And that last picture *MELTING* XOXO
I’m so, so sorry to hear about your Ruby. What a horrible experience. I’m so glad that your beautiful puppy is helping.
Pets do something pretty amazing to us, don’t they.
That last picture is awesome
Oh my, he is cute! Animals can be such a great source of calm. I am sorry about Ruby. 🙁
Thanks so much Alexa, we love him!
I’m so sorry about your Ruby and especially that your kiddo experienced that. Max is adorable and I suspect the perfect way for her to cope with that loss.
He definitely has been. She’s doing so much better since we got him.
Carisa Miller-Do you read me? says
I am in throes of puppy craving. I think it has something to do with kindergarten and preschool starting and the end of a certain kind of constantly nurturing my kids. I might be able to hold off of on getting a dog before I can really handle it, as long as you keep those photos coming. I’m so sorry about Ruby and so glad you have Max.
Max has definitely helped me cope with the fact that my kids aren’t babies anymore. I may be carrying him a little more than necessary ;).
Elaine A. says
I can SO relate to this in many ways since we just got our Oliver a couple of months ago.
Your little list up there has been my life… 🙂
And I’m glad that Max can help, in many ways. Pets are amazing like that!
I’ve been following your adorable pictures of Oliver, he’s so cute!
Jessica, I’m so sorry that you lost little Ruby. Makes me so sad. But I’m so glad Max is bringing your family some peace and happiness.
Thanks Molly, it was awful. Thank goodness Max has helped McKenna through the loss.
Loving the picture 😉 It‘s amazing how something that chews and pees and destroys all that you love slips into your heart <3
Exactly! You would think I wouldn’t love this little guy so much but I do.
What a sweet puppy. I’m not a huge pet person either, though we have always had cats. Some of our children also find a lot of comfort in them.
I think Max is turning me into a pet person, although one puppy is more than enough for me.