The day is yours, and yours also the night; you established the sun and moon. It was you who set all the boundaries of the earth; you made both summer and winter. Psalm 74:16-17 (NIV)
When Sky died in August, I knew not to suggest getting a new dog right away. Over time, it gets harder and harder to replace a dog that we have lost. I don’t know if it is that with our emptier nest we are more attached to our canine kids or if it is the thought of housebreaking or hearing a howling puppy all night. I know some people who cannot think about getting a new dog as it feels disrespectful to the one who is gone. Sort of like getting remarried less than six months after the funeral of a spouse. When Apollo died five years ago, it took husband a whole year before he was willing to talk about a puppy. But, a lot of things have been happening in the last few months that made me think we should not wait as long this time. Lucy has been so lonely. While she is more affectionate and has been getting more attention, we realized how lonely she was when we dog sat for my sister a few weeks ago. Midgie, the “little brat”, (Lucy’s words, not mine) suddenly wasn’t so obnoxious anymore, and Lucy spent the entire weekend absorbed with playing with the dog she once scorned. Then, there is the fact that youngest son has been on an aggressive, “we need a puppy” campaign. He kept e-mailing me pathetic pictures of pound puppies and sounded like a five year old when he whined, “All I want for Christmas is a puppy.” Sigh. The final straw was when he said pitifully, “M. (his fiancée) leaves for college in five weeks and I will be all alone.” I wasn’t concerned about his loneliness, but that he will let her go unencumbered to experience university life with the trials and tribulations of roommates and dining hall food, study sessions and building friends that will last a life time. I didn’t want him making the four hour trip each weekend to see her. So, I began looking at puppies. The Internet has certainly changed the way that we buy things and dogs are no exception. We knew when Sky died that we would not be replacing her with another Doberman due to problems with homeowner’s insurance (not that any of our dogs has ever been a liability). Youngest son wanted a chocolate lab, but I was concerned about getting a dog that is always “on.” (Sorry, FC). Our neighbor, who runs a dog rescue, suggested a Chesapeake Bay Retriever. Chessies are very much like Dobies in temperament. Loyal, but not obnoxious. Protective, but not aggressive. Active, but not manic. The problem is that there are few Chessie breeders in Florida and no puppies to see. I learned that my horse trainer, Bethany, has a niece that breeds Chessies in Michigan. Originally, she had no puppies either, but then, a buyer walked away from a puppy and one became available. I never dreamed husband would go along, but after seeing pictures, he was smitten. Within five minutes of his approval, I was sending off money to buy, for the first time in my life, a dog that I have never seen or temperament tested myself. We have a weird family habit of naming our dogs after Buicks so her name will be Somerset, but we will call her Summer. On Monday, we will go to the airport to pick her up. I better spend the holiday weekend storing up sleep.