So remember when I said the reason I had three small children and a puppy, was a sad story? The time has come to tell it... stop now if you don't feel like crying.
There is our Sheba.
When we got married (almost five years ago) I told Tom I needed a dog. I had moved strait from my parents house to our new house and I had never not had a dog. The house seemed quiet and empty. So about 2 days after we got back from our honeymoon I stopped by the humane society. He wanted a German Shepard. I wanted a puppy. And there she was... just waiting for us. I made Tom come see her right then.
I was in a little playroom with her and just as he was outside walking by the window to the main entrance she decided to make sure he knew what he was getting himself into and she pooped on the floor right in front of me.... He took a little more convincing after that but only a little.
I remember feeling so bad for her the first few nights we had her home, she would cry at night, and I would try to reason with Tom to let her come sleep in our bed or at least our room. Eventually he let her sleep in our room but not until she was fully house broken. By the time we had two kids and had moved our bedroom to the second story, she no longer cared about us but preferred to sleep right in between the kids rooms on the first floor. She was so protective of them.
Here she is watching someone in the neighbors driveway from just outside our play yard.
I know a lot of people who have dogs worry about how they will react when a baby is brought home... Sheba didn't enjoy the crying at first. For a few days she would come running every single time Bella would cry but other than that she did just fine.
Once when Isabella was a newborn Tom and I were doing yard work while she slept in her stroller. Someone came out of the neighbors house and Sheba went nuts. It was the first time the baby had been out in the yard and I guess Sheba felt it was her job to protect her. I never her saw her like that before, hair raised, growling, she immediately got between the baby and the neighbors house until the person was gone. That was when I knew we had the right dog. She was never what you would call brave, but if she thought those kids were in any danger she was a mother bear.
I don't want to make her seem like the perfect dog. For her first year of life she had a majorly bad habit of chewing on trim. Tom was not at all happy about that. Once she actually dug a hole in the dry wall in our hallway. Again.... not a happy hubby.
And the worst of them all... on the day after Christmas while I was pregnant with Bella, we were going to dinner with my husbands whole family. We had been at his parents house all day because he was hunting with his Dad. So Sheba was there with us. When it was time to go to dinner we decided to lock her in the bathroom so she wouldn't "go" in the house..... not smart. When we came back she had tried to dig her way out... through every wall.... there were seriously deep scratches three feet up the wall all around the small room. We all agreed that given another few hours and she might have made it out. I thank God everyday that the bathroom needed remodeled anyway, and every time I'm there I feel bad it hasn't happened yet!
So if you've done the math you could figure that Sheba should just be turning five this month. We had to have her put down in September, she was losing weight, not eating, going into kidney failure. We went to two vets and neither could explain it. We know she didn't get into anything chemically that could have caused it. The best they could guess is a rare bacterial infection that they can get from drinking standing water. I guess it doesn't much matter now anyway.
Staying with her while they put her down was so incredibly hard. I felt so bad in that moment for all the times I brushed her off or yelled at her when I was really frustrated with something else. You always realize to late what you could have done better. It was harder still because she was with us from nearly the beginning. She was our "practice baby", our wedding gift to each other. It was not just the end of her life but the end of a chapter of ours.... one I thought still had a long way to go.
I know that she is in heaven. I keep telling Bella that when she says she misses her. When we first had to tell her I explained that she was really sick (which Bella could see) and that the only way for her to get well was to go to heaven where God could heal her. Somehow explaining it to my kids made it easier for me to understand as well.
So what made me write this today in the first place? Two things...
First, we went outside to play today for the first time since we got Jack in the late fall. And I realized just how much I missed Sheba. Don't misunderstand. I love Jack too. But I couldn't trust him.... yet. He will get there I'm sure, but I didn't feel as safe today. I didn't know that he would be the first one to hear anything that was nearby. I took that for granted with her.
Second, Isabella looked out the door this morning and said " there goes Sheba... I miss her so much mama." I was confused for a few minutes until we worked it out that she was actually pointing to an airplane. I guess in her three year old mind, the only two things we talk about being "up in the sky" are airplanes and heaven. To her they had somehow become one and the same. She said "I miss her but she can't come back and play with us, right mama?" I said no but I'm sure she is happy now and just waiting for us to come and play with her someday... and I really do believe that.