As a mom of both a two-legged human and a couple of four-legged canines, there is never a dull moment.
The most monumental experience in my life was that first moment when Abigail Leigh (Abby) gave out her first cry. Instantly, I was overcome by a feeling of love greater than anything I had ever experienced before. I was so enamored by this new human being, my daughter, absolutely perfect in my eyes. At the time of her birth, we had only one dog…Zoe, or “pesto puppy” as she was affectionately called because of her demanding demeanor. Zoe was a highly energetic Dalmatian/Labrador mix with a need for constant attention. While she “took” to Abby nicely, she was none too thrilled to have to share our attention with this new baby. She specifically chose moments when I was nursing Abby to suddenly need to have her ball thrown, or the door opened to go outside, etc; she was the quintessential first born. However, I distinctly recall when the tide turned and Zoe suddenly found “value” in having her new “human sister” around. When food fell on the floor under Abby’s high chair, Zoe was quick to discover that the addition of this new baby to the family probably wasn’t such a bad thing after all, and the day Abby started walking and carrying food in her hands at the perfect height for Zoe to stealthily cruise by and snag whatever she was carrying, confirmed for her that this kid was alright! Poor Zoe did gain weight during those toddler years and while Abby was unaware of Zoe’s true motives, this was the beginning of their relationship and connection to each other.
As Abby grew so did our canine family. First, we added Sasha when Abby was 4 and then Henry when she was 9. Many families have multiple children and 1 dog. I ended up with 1 child and multiple dogs.
Each day, I could not wait to start my adventures with Abby and neither could the dogs. They (Zoe and Sasha) knew that once the human munchkin was fed and squared away, she would get loaded up in the baby jogger (something I held onto for over six years) with her music, books, and drink and they would get to head out for their morning jaunt. There is nothing better than hearing the sweet voice of your child and seeing the happy smiles on the dogs as we participated in this morning ritual.
Like parents with more than one child, there was always the balance of doing activities with Abby and making sure the dog’s needs were also met. She never seemed to mind, until she started getting older and began pulling the guilt trip tactic using the proverbial “you love the dogs more than you love me”…grasping at the only ammo an only child has since there are no siblings to pull into the game.
In the past 12.5 years some things have changed. Zoe has left our lives but not our hearts. And, while Abby still continues to be the source of food she doesn’t want to eat, she no longer joins me on my morning runs/walks with Sasha and Henry. As my child has grown into a beautiful pre-teen, with her own independent ideas, thoughts, and opinions I continue to love my role as mom in her life. Each day I feel more pride and continue to be enamored by and filled with indescribable love for this person that I brought into the world. At the same time, my dogs play a role that no human can actually fullfill. The dynamics of our time together and our relationship is the impetus behind our concept “Dogvergnugen”…the joy, peace, and love I feel in their presence is something very hard to articulate but something I know all dog “parents” experience.
I am a true nurturer, always looking to take care of those I love. I am both energized and exhausted every day. If you are a mom, you know exactly what I mean. Multitasking at a furious pace is a daily routine for me but something I would never want to replace, and while I love my daughter more than life itself, I will say that “my dogs don’t roll their eyes” at me :).
Gila, Abby, Sasha and Henry