Last night we stopped by the Humane Society to pick up Juliet and Caesar. They'd spent the day there because while people had expressed interest in adopting them, nobody had actually signed papers. So, they weren't adopted, officially ... and a day on the adoption floor would go a long way towards taking care of that.
And it did - at least, for Caesar. When we arrived to bring them back to be with their siblings and mom, we were told Caesar would be going home with a lovely lady named Linda who works at the Atlantic Veterinary College and who very recently lost her 15 year old dog to a stroke. She couldn't imagine a life without a dog - that's how much she loves dogs - and what better kind of home would you want for your babies?
Your babies. Dammit.
There's a new one - at least, for me. I've always seen pets as ... well, pets. I mean, I can understand people developing a bond with them, a close friendship. But I've always kind of rolled my eyes at people who think of themselves as their pet's "Mommy" or "Daddy".
I've bridled at that in the past: "I'm not the dog's Daddy," I would say. "Her Daddy is either a Lab or a German Shepherd or a Husky or - judging from the intelligence she exhibits - a toaster oven. Stop saying "Daddy will take you out."
That's how I was brought up. Pets were considered important to the family - but not part of the family. I guess with six kids, my mom didn't want one more critter thinking of her as "Mommy". And frankly, none of us wanted to vie for attention with another sibling. Pets were pets, people were people, and never the twain shall meet.
And so it has been, until now. We got these eight lil things when they were two days old - eyes not open, unable to walk or eat or do anything but suckle at their mom and sleep. Each of them easily fit into my hand. And they set up camp in my office.
And started to grow. They grew larger. They grew more agile and curious. And they grew on me.
They also grew personalities. Puck was mischievous (three syllables, thank you Bucky) from the start; Ophelia is "the little bitch" (technically and figuratively accurate); Caesar is boisterous and filled with adventure, Antony would just as soon sit apart and study the goings-on from a safe distance. Romeo is the first to withdraw from the tussles and just curl up in your lap, where he immediately flops onto his back for a belly rub. Desdemona is feisty and was always first to the food dish and God help the puppy standing in her way. Othello, the giant Black moor, became the de facto leader and sometimes bully who uses his size to bowl over anyone. And finally, tiny, sweet Juliet, who got sick and lost ground on all the others in terms of size - but who doesn't seem to have gotten the memo and is every bit the bully Othello is.
It's hard not to anthropomorphize the puppies, ascribe to them emotions and thoughts they probably don't experience. So when we said goodbye to Caesar (after waiting around for a while till his new - uh - mommy showed up, just to see the moment when she met him and fell in love, and what a wonderful moment that was), I had to tell myself that he was just curious and maybe a bit nervous, but not sad or feeling abandoned.
Stupid. To even have such thoughts.
But today, as the four boys were playing out in the yard (Desi and Ophelia are in getting turored, while Juliet was at the Humane Society again, and today she became the last of the eight to be adopted, so .. "Yay!". And .. "oh."), I tried not to think that - for a few of them - it would be the last time they'd play with their mom. Puck went to his new home an hour after this video was taken. Romeo, Othello, and my boy Antony - all gone to wonderful homes. So, "Yay!" And ... "Oh."
Even now, as I watch the video, I'm reminded for all the world of those times when I would go out in the yard when my kids were toddlers and let all the neighbourhood kids wrestle me to the ground and pounce on me and beat me up while I would toss them around, roughly but not carelessly. We all loved it, just as much as these guys seem to.
I'm kinda glad they didn't know what tonight would bring, that this last giddy wrestle with their mom was just as filled with joy as every other playtime.
This is hard. And good.