Stories about people helping parents and kids make our day. If you follow the Baby Rabies page on Facebook, you’ve likely seen us using the hashtag #AGoodDayInTheVillage when we share a post that hits us in the heart. Which is exactly what this post is about to do.
I told her we’d get her a “tiny girl puppy,” and we did. Meet Rosie.
You may be thinking she’s just the product of parent guilt and irrational pregnancy brain, but our decision to get her was much more thought out than that. She’s not just a fulfilled promise to a broken hearted Leyna after learning she would never have a baby sister.
She’s a much needed playmate for Arlo, our 9 month old English mastiff. We’ve known for a few months that he really needs and deserves a dog that will play with him, and be a companion. Before I found out I was pregnant, we contemplated adding another mastiff to the family. That plan was quickly scratched when news of baby #4 came, though. I just… we just… we can’t with another massive dog.
So the search for a small dog who we knew would be able to handle the chaos of this family and the size of Arlo began right after I made that promise to Leyna.
Because, oddly, now is actually the best time to do this… at least for the next year and a half. No school for the next few weeks, I’m feeling okay at 20 weeks pregnant, there’s no newborn to take care of, Scott’s not traveling for a while, and neither am I. I know the initial reaction is that we’re crazy, but I think it’s just a temporary crazy that will hopefully lead to some (relative) calm after baby is born.
If you’re thinking, “But wait, don’t you already have another dog?” you’re right. We have a 13 year old chocolate labrador- Callie. She is SO tired. She. is. so. tired. We honestly don’t know that she will make it much longer. And we certainly feel bad that she can’t get some peace with Arlo begging her to play all the time.
The good news is, so far, it seems our plan has worked! Arlo and Rosie wear each other out to the point of exhaustion a few times a day. And Callie is left alone to do what a 13 year old dog really wants to do- sleep.
It took a couple failed adoption attempts with other dogs to get to Roise, but we’re happy we found her. I never considered a pug, but now I can’t imagine a better fit for our situation. Our concern with going small was that the dog would be skittish around our loud and rambunctious family, not to mention the 100+ lb dog we’d want them to play with. But Rosie has a feisty personality and doesn’t seem to realize she’s the size of Arlo’s poops.
I think it helps that she came from a family with a toddler and goats. We are comparable to a pack of toddlers and goats.
Of course, there’s a story behind this, but for now, this is all I can share.
He’s an 8 week old English Mastiff. We named him Arlo.
Yes, after The Good Dinosaur.
Scott and Leyna wanted to name him Bowser, at first. I was campaigning for Slimer (because MASTIFF), and Kendall wanted to name him Mike.
But he is an Arlo.
Such a lover. He chose us. He wouldn’t let us leave without him.
We purchased him from a reputable breeder, and he’s AKC registered.
You guys, we set out to adopt, and I fully believe in the rescue system. I’ve rescued many animals. But that didn’t work out this time, and I am confident we made the right decision for our family with this puppy. More on that in another post.
For now, I have a baby to take care of. He’s SO good at going potty outside… if only I take him fast enough.
And yes, I took pictures of him yesterday because we know from experience that he will be SO BIG SO SOON.
More to come later this week on how we found him, why we decided to commit to him, and why he’s not a Christmas puppy.
I cradled his head as he rested it atop my growing belly, smooshing both slobbery cheeks together. I reached down and gave him a kiss on the lips. This wasn’t an uncommon show of affection for my dog at the time. I was 26. He was 5. He was my “baby.” My 180 lb baby. This time, though, I cried a little. I didn’t want to think of how his life would change when I had an actual human baby. I swore that it wouldn’t.
This was typical. He spooned with me on the nights Scott worked.
Of course, I was wrong. I hate that I was wrong, but let’s be real. Having a real baby means pet babies take a back seat, ESPECIALLY pet babies who were babied SO much to begin with.
He hasn’t had a bad life. Since we had kids, he (and our chocolate Labrador Callie) still get plenty of love, but, truthfully, not as much attention. They still live in a safe, warm/cool home with free access to all the couches. They are fed twice a day. They are up to date on vaccinations.
Bruno still gets 2 insulin injections daily, required to manage his Type 1 Diabetes. He was diagnosed with it at 5 months old.
When we got his diagnosis, we cried. It felt like a death sentence. A death sentence for a puppy we adopted just days after our first “baby,” a 2 year old yellow Labrador named Cleo, died after suffocating inside an empty chip bag she retrieved from the trash while we were out to dinner with friends.
We vowed that we would keep him alive for as long as possible, that we would find a way to manage the disease. And so we did. We learned all about how to check a dog’s blood sugar and chart it using a human glucose meter. We learned about insulin curves and researched the best diet for him. We aimed for 6 years old. That would be a really great life for him.
We did good.
10 is getting up there for a healthy English Mastiff. Their average life expectancy is 10-12 years. We never thought we’d get him this far.
And now he’s old… and tired. He’s moving slower every day, and most of his hours are spent sleeping on the couch. The cataracts (from the diabetes, which have been gradually growing since he was 8 months old) now completely cover both eyes. He can’t see and he barely hears. He runs into walls, and his skin is sagging off of him. Once 180 lbs, he’s now maybe 120.
We know the end is coming.
I took these pictures of him in the bluebonnets yesterday, remembering how much I wanted professional pictures of him taken when he was a puppy. I’m so happy I’m finally able to capture these beautiful moments on my own.
Plans are in the works for a 10 Year Doggie Birthday Party this week or next for both the dogs. We used to celebrate their birthdays every year with a trip to the McDonalds drive through and some treats… before we had kids. Now the kids are old enough that I can’t wait to include them in it.
There is so much more I could write about this. I could talk for days about the guilt. The guilt that that promise I made to that sweet doggy on my lap – that things wouldn’t change- wasn’t fulfilled, the guilt that life did change. I could talk for days about how hard I try to reconcile that, knowing we have never stopped loving him, knowing we never gave up on him, knowing we’ve worked so hard to give him the fullest life possible.
But for now, we just love on him. No trips to the vet have been scheduled, no dates on the calendar, but we are facing reality… bracing ourselves… preparing for goodbye.