NO!! We are not expecting a human child. Not yet.
However, we did welcome a new addition into our home. Her name is Tallulah and she is every bit as sweet, feminine and silly as her name. Our hearts are full and overflowing with joy. We loved our Ugly so much and when she passed we weren't sure that pain would ever go away and now we are certain it won't; however, we know that that pain is our love and it has been lessened in time and with the arrival of Tallulah.
We said goodbye to Ugly in July 2017 and we weren't sure when or if we'd adopt another dog though we were fairly certain we would. We wanted to give ourselves enough time to heal before we tried to bring another pet home. We also wanted Karlee (puggle) and Dunkin' (cat) time to adjust to her absence. We thought it might be a little unfair to leave the house with Ugly one night and come home with a new pup the next day. Maybe Karlee and Dunkin' would've welcomed the arrival of a new pup, maybe we were using them as our excuse but the truth was we just weren't ready.
We would snuggle the babies we had, enjoy their company and in a few years we'd try again. A few more months passed. We celebrated our first Christmas without Ugly and it wasn't the same. Christmas was her favorite holiday which I know sounds ridiculous but it was. She used to lay under the Christmas tree when it was all lit up like she was in a tanning bed. It was one of the very few times she was peaceful and in hindsight I don't know why we didn't keep a tree lit year round so we could have a few hours of peace every night...
We spoiled Karlee a little extra this year and took her on more car rides than ever before. On one of those rides Karlee and her other Mama went to Petsmart and Karlee was a total ham. She was being extra friendly with the people and the other dogs and when Amy came home from that trip she told me about how great Karlee was with the other dogs and she thought maybe it was time to try again. Even though we have a beautiful cat and a beautiful dog we'd always been a 2 dog home and our house felt empty without another dog; something (or someone) was missing. I hesitated at first remembering Bear but then I remembered that we didn't really make the decision to adopt Bear, it just kind of happened. We didn't go to a shelter, meet the dogs, take the time to consider it we just acted on impulse thinking maybe it was a sign or something...
So this time I said "if we find the right one." I began researching shelters and since my sister had adopted a dog last February I remembered the name of the shelter they went through. Lighthouse Animal Shelter in New Bedford, MA. I started looking at dogs on their website and found a dog that seemed like she might be a good fit so we went to meet her the next day. She was really sweet but the volunteer said "if you like her, there's a dog who was just returned today that I think you'll like. Would you like to meet her?" Apparently the people who returned her had adopted her a few months earlier. They loved her, she was a fantastic family dog and great with kids but they just didn't have enough time for her and felt they needed to surrender her again.
The volunteer brought us downstairs and she was in a kennel. She locked eyes with us and began dancing immediately. It wasn't just a tail wag, it was a full body experience that started at her neck and rocked all the way down. The only thing not moving was her head! It is like one of those statues that you put on your dashboard. Their heads bobble but their bodies stay stuck, except in reverse! Immediately my wife grabbed my arm and said "oh my god babe, I love her!"
It felt like we waited an eternity for the shelter to call our references (though it wasn't!!). We wanted to take her home the day we met her, we KNEW she was the one but we were grateful for the amazing staff at Lighthouse and appreciated them taking the time to check our references. It shows how much they care about the animals they place and we were happy to support a place that cares as much as we do.
I took Karlee up about a week after our initial meeting so we could introduce the 2 before she came home for her 2 week trial. They hit it off at the shelter and thankfully they've continued to get along! Karlee hasn't had to share her space or toys for quite a while and even when Ugly was alive she didn't get much doggy interaction. Ugly was very particular about how she played and she didn't like sharing. Occasionally they'd wrestle and share a toy but most of the time it quickly turned into Ugly barking at Karlee, looking at us, barking at us and then barking at Karlee again. "I want the toy and I don't want to do the work to get it, human!"
Tallulah is still a puppy, barely 1 years old and full of puppy pep and curiosity. She's playful, friendly, loves dogs, kids and humans. She is in love with Karlee and Karlee loves her just as much. Tallulah is teaching Karlee how to play tug and what it's like to wrestle. Karlee is a senior citizen but doesn't know it and keeps up! She naps more frequently since Tallulah has come to live with us but there's a renewed energy, a pep in her step. She's a happier girl because of Tallulah.
Dunkin' isn't sure how he feels about Tallulah yet. He's spent a lot of time in the basement where his litter box and food are stored. He has a cat door because Ugly thought Dunkin's food...and poop...were delicious! GROSS. Thankfully Dunkin' loves his cat door and Lexi (Ugly) was smart enough to work the door, but not small enough to fit through it. Dunkin' has met Tallulah. The first day we brought her home he made sure she knew she was not welcome in the bedroom and since then we've had to coax her in, even when he's not in there! He's spent a lot of time harassing her from the other side of the cat door and flitted out a few times which starts a chase that ends as soon as it starts. Tallulah chases Dunkin' and Karlee chases Tallulah, then Dunkin' darts back through the other side of the door and Tallulah lays in the hallway waiting for him to come back out.
Dunkin' is a very sturdy cat. Our vet called him "big boned" which of course made me giggle; unlike me he actually IS big boned, not overweight. I always called myself big boned when really I was just big. I am sure that once he is brave enough to not fly out of the cat door like a bat out of hell he and Tallulah will get a long just fine. But, he's still not sure how to handle her and not brave enough to establish his turf. He was only brave enough when he was in the bedroom because he felt cornered. Once he was able to retreat to his domain he lost some of his confidence.
I'm a bit of a control freak so I'm having a hard time letting these 2 get to know each other on their terms. While I know Dunkin' will be on our side of the door sooner than later, I do wish he'd be on our side of the door RIGHT NOW!!
Tallulah is already teaching me how to breathe and relax and let things happen.
And with Karlee's help we are teaching her what "off" means when she starts to counter surf. We are also working on "living room" which is a weird command but it's what we say when we're in the kitchen cooking and don't want furbabies begging underfoot. Karlee is not smart like Ugly was but she's proving to be a very good teacher!!
Tallulah is very hesitant about new things. We asked her to get on the couch to snuggle with us (it's called FURniture for a reason so YES, we let our pets on the couch!) but she wasn't sure she should. The first day she put her top half on the couch and left her bottom on the floor...slowly but surely she's trusting that it's OK to come up.
This morning I introduced her to massage. I'm not TTOUCH certified and I don't do pet massage professionally but I don't think you need to be a licensed therapist to give your pet a massage. She loved it! She leaned into me while I worked on her and let her eyes shut. After our her massage she joined me on the couch for a truly wonderful and peaceful snuggle that could've lasted hours if I didn't have to go to work. I almost called in. "I can't come to work today. I'm sick. Love sick." I didn't.
Tallulah is a bit of a bull in a china shop; I lovingly refer to her as a hippo not only because of her big head but also her loud, stomping walk. I've never met a dog who is so heavy footed!! And she's not BIG!! She's about 40 pounds and needs to be about 45 (which won't be a problem living here LOL) She's very compact and muscular but she doesn't realize how graceful she looks and crashes into...everything. Her tail is slightly too long and it's like a whip; since it's always wagging we've needed to move things off of the coffee table and move out of the way unless you want to get whacked. Poor Karlee is a little dumb and instead of moving she'll stand behind Tallulah and her whip and squint her eyes waiting for it to stop. It doesn't stop. Tallulah is one of the happiest dogs I've ever met. I hope she doesn't outgrow her quirky heavy feet, full body wag and whipping tail. I hope she's only happier as the days go by here living with us.
Thanks for reading and sharing in our joy as we make this special announcement! It's been asked before "Who rescued who?" and in our family I think it's pretty obvious that they've all rescued us.