Uh oh. We got a DOG.

We got a puppy.

Ok, I know what you are thinking. It probably has something to do with me not having time to care for anything right now because I’ve got four kids with endless commitments, practices and games, a husband battling cancer and days where I don’t brush my teeth or shower until dinnertime. Yes, I know. My husband doesn’t want a dog either and keeps telling me not to get it – but then again he probably never planned to meet and marry an obnoxious, compulsive, high maintenance Italian girl either, and look how that turned out for him. I swear he’s close to divorcing me and kicking me out of the house over the decision I made about this dog, so I’m kind of holding my breath.
But hear me out. I swear I have good reason.

Coming soon… Juno
We lost our German Shepherd, Keeley almost a year ago. The days and weeks after that vet visit were heartbreaking. The kids were roaming the yard to find tufts of her dog fur, that they tucked away in their dresser drawers. One of the twins was so distraught she would lay on the dog bed, crying, “WHY GOD?” (She is the most likely in the family to win an Oscar.) They reminisced about playing with her and taking her for walks — because even in her old age, she enjoyed walking up the street, sniffing (peed on) mailboxes and barking at neighbor dogs.
We actually missed finding her piles of crap in the yard.

After 13 years of having a dog in the house, it was strange and sad to realize we would never again see that tail wagging at the front door. Then we saw that movie, A Dog’s Purpose, and each of us basically used an entire box of Kleenex before we made up our minds on this matter.
This house was due for either a puppy or a baby, and since there was no chance in the bluest of hells for the latter – puppy it was.

Everyone knows the past year or so has been pretty rough around here. Anytime cancer becomes a part of a family’s existence, things can suck. So we have been feeling defeated for quite some time. There isn’t a lot of laughter, there aren’t many smiles. I won’t lie. There is a lot of sadness in our house. I admit my grumpiness, anxiety and exhaustion make me a person I don’t like to be. I can’t remember a time recently when we were really “happy,” or content. The stresses of a grave sickness take an even greater toll on a marriage. I’m not always as strong as I let on, and “I’m fine,” is probably just something the autopilot in me tells anyone who asks about us. My husband gets frustrated with me and in turn I know I get frustrated with the way things are and then take it out on the kids and drag everyone down.
Some days I wish I could blink and make everything perfect. Don’t we all.

So, I’ve decided happiness needs to make a comeback here. I’m aiming to get fun, laughter and smiles on a leash and pull them all back into this house where they’ve been missing for too long. 
We visited the kennel quite a few times in the past year; we tried our best to find a pup that would fit our family. The first one wasn’t going to be good with kids, they told us. Another dog was snatched up by another family before we could get him. Many of the dogs at the shelter were elderly, and we didn’t want to risk getting attached to a dog who would leave us with another big heartbreak in a year. One dog was cute, but it was one of those yippy dogs, so you understand why that definitely wasn’t going to work. I found a perfect dog from a rescue – unfortunately in California – and the logistics of that made her wrong for us, too.
But then we happened upon a German Shepherd pup.

The puppy who saved us.
She and another litter mate were the only ones left in a family nearby. She was sort of “discounted” as far as the cost for this type of breed. My son fell in love. He made cooing sounds at her that I’m pretty sure 10-year-old boys shouldn’t make. He also made promises that HE would be the one to feed her, let her out and clean up after her. We all know 10-year-olds are made of lies though.

I admit, the dog was sweet. She didn’t jump all over us, or bark or cry or run around when we saw her. She just sat there, perfectly behaved and quiet. She gave us what people call the “puppy eyes.” I think she knew maybe this family just needs a chill dog. A dog who’s going to be a great companion on a walk, or to snuggle four kids who are dying for the compassionate hugs that only a patient, furry puppy can handle. I hadn’t seen a smile on my son like that in forever. But he didn’t have to sell me though, I was smiling too.

She sold us.

We’re bringing home a German Shepherd pup next week, and we’re going to name her Juno. The kids think we are naming her that because we’re getting her in June, but there’s a little more to her moniker than that.
The meaning of Juno is rooted in the word, “youth.” At this juncture, I want so badly to protect my kids from a lot of the harsh “adult” things going on in their lives. I want their childhood to have memories of love and fun and happiness. I fear so much for the pain and sadness of this time to hurt them in the long run. I want them to remember their youth with joy and happy times and I know this dog will give them a little bit of that.
For those who know Greek mythology, Juno was the wife of Jupiter – the protectress of marriage and women. That’s how I knew her name was meant to be. I need her, too. I need some healing. I need to feel a little love around this house. Sure, I’ll have to shell out money for fancy dog food, get through some sleepless puppy nights, some poop on the floor and maybe some chewed up furniture. But I think the trouble she’ll cause will be worth the love she’ll share with this hurting family.

On the other hand, you might just see a divorced mother of four, alone and dragging a shepherd pup along a Kentucky highway soon. In that case, please feed us.

My blog was originally published here at Cincinnati Moms Blog.


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