We suffered a loss last night.
After 13 & 1/2 months of living with us, my mom's dog Poppy finally went home.
For those of you that don't know, let me give you the "Claire's too tired to go into the whole thing again" version - my mom broke her ankle in 2 places on May 4th of last year, & after laying in her hallway all night with the phone in her hand, finally called for help. (Ugh - just revisiting that whole experience so briefly drains me of what little energy I possess!) Mom had 3 surgeries in a year, & there were a lot of challenges - some what you'd expect, & then others that could only be brought about by the mind of my mother.
(Doug's really, really happy that I'm adopted.)
Our time with Poppy was not without problems. You see, Poppy knew our dogs well, but had never stayed with them for very long. She came into our home & found herself living with a pack, & that was new to her. There was a hierarchy & Poppy didn't want to play along, so there were many scuffles & lots of posturing & pouting. Doug & I lost a lot of sleep because of these flare-ups, & neither of us operate very well after such nights. Yes, little Poppy had a hard time fitting in for a while, & everyone struggled because of it. There were times when we couldn't wait for her to go home so that we could have our peaceful house back.
Eventually, Poppy's behavior made a big turn for the better, & suddenly she started acting like she was one of our dogs. Happy day! She returned to the cute, bouncy, sweet Poppy that we knew & adored, & gained the nicknames that come with living at our house - Pops, Pop-Pop, Popster, Pop Star, etc. The fighting had stopped & she started to enjoy living at our house. If I were a dog, I think our house would be a great place to live! We have a big fenced-in backyard (complete with squirrels to chase), 4 other dogs, & what seems like constant petting & scratching. Sounds pretty good to me, although I'm not big on squirrels & I like indoor plumbing. A lot.
Neither of us wanted to, but we both came to love Poppy as our own. Yeah, yeah, we knew the time was coming for her to go home, but after so much time had passed, it was impossible not to! The thought of her leaving our home made us both sad & stressed us out a bit. My mom had some crazy list of things that needed to be done before Poppy could come back, & admittedly, we took our time in doing them. But finally, it was time.
Poppy went home.
We couldn't let my mom know that we were sad. I mean, Poppy is her dog, & we do want my mom to be happy. However, after seeing Poppy hooked up to her dog run & looking confused, it was impossible to not feel bad for her. I know my mom will take great care of her & that she loves her, but we just can't stop feeling that Poppy's happier with us.
So now, we're down to 4 again. Our girls are very out-of-sorts - Piper's very sad & Bella's fervently searching for the missing member of her "herd". It will take time for all of us to adjust to a Poppy-free life. Sure, she'll come back for visits, but it just won't be the same. In the meantime, we're just hoping that it all works out.
Our days of being the guardians of the family dogs are very likely not over. One of Doug's brothers - who is just a big unhealthy mess, to put it mildly - just asked Doug if we'd take his dog Queenie if something should happen to him. Doug said yes, fully realizing that something always happens to Randy to incapacitate him in one way or another.
Queenie is a St. Bernard.