On this point I was absolutely clear: No way did I want a dog.
Taking care of my ailing husband was a full-time job. Sure, we loved hosting our four-legged grand dog on occasional weekends when our kids were away, but that was a once-in-a-while kind of thing.
Don’t get me wrong. I like dogs as much as the next person, but the full-time responsibility for another living creature did not fit into my busy schedule of driving to doctor appointments, managing medication schedules, and preparing healthy meals.
If I said it once, I said it a thousand times: Do NOT get me a dog.
But apparently, the kids had other ideas, because come Mother’s Day 2014, here comes my daughter from California, and in her arms is the most precious, black and butterscotch Yorkshire terrier I have ever seen!
“Awwwww,” my heart starts to melt as I reach for you, but then, I steel myself.
“What part of ‘no’ did you not understand?” I demand. “I told you! I do not want a dog!”
“Just hold her,” my daughter says. “Just feel how soft she is. Her name is Luna.”
You wriggle into the crook of my arm and look up at me with those eyes, that face. If only you weren’t so adorable, then it would be easy to send you on your way. But you are the cutest little thing.
You lick my hand, and I am a goner.
“I don’t have time for this,” I protest. “I’ve got my hands full taking care of Dad.”
We go to sit down, and you jump into my lap. I stroke your back, tickle your paws.
“I’ve had her at my house for two months, Mom,” my daughter says. “She’s housebroken. She’ll be nice company for you.”
“I don’t know,” I say. “I live in a condo. I don’t have a yard…”
“I’ll be back in six weeks,” my daughter says. “Just keep her till then. If you decide you don’t want her, I’ll take her home with me.”
“I don’t have anything to feed her, anything to take care of her. I don’t have a leash…”
As if on cue, my daughter-in-law and son ring the doorbell. They are obviously in on this dog business, too, because, they come bearing gifts! A huge basket overflowing with all the accoutrements for the contemporary canine -- aforementioned food, crockery, leash and treats -- even a Burberry raincoat!
The joy you exhibit when I enter a room is pure, unadulterated elation. You dance little circles of welcome and I think that in all my whole life, no one has ever been so ecstatic to see me.
With your arrival, I have cultivated a whole host of new “friends:” A daily dog walker, a weekly grass patch delivery man, a bi-weekly dog groomer, a veterinarian…
But you, little Luna, you are the best friend of all. You are the one I tell all my secrets to. And I’m 100 percent confident my secrets are safe with you. I know your bark for when you’re hungry and your bark to go outside. Your bark at the doorbell is ferocious until the door swings open and you smother whoever is there with wet kisses. Your bedtime snuggles have spared me the loneliness of being just one in a big, roomy, king-sized bed that for 57 years warmed two. It never used to feel so big.
There are those who say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. To them I say I beg to differ. Thanks to you, little Luna, this “old dog” learned to love a new dog, despite my best effort not to.