Happy 6th Birthday, Ramsey Girl!
I cannot believe our rambunctious, smiling, fluffy, golden baby is six-years-old. It seems like yesterday we sat in a room filled with your brothers and sisters in complete golden retriever heaven. I knew I liked the puppy in the blue polka dot collar the best. Love at first sight.
Ever since I fell in love with Comet from Full House, I have wanted a golden retriever. After Eric and I got married, the desire grew and grew. I imagined cuddling with my puppy – playing with my puppy – cuteness overload. Sure, she would need to be trained… and we would have to take her outside to use the bathroom; but, for the most part, she was going to snuggle with us and bring us copious amounts of joy. ~smile~
This is the part where anyone who has ever trained a puppy stops and smiles. (You know what is coming.)
Our precious ball of fluff was like a baby and toddler in all in one. She was into everything. She whined constantly! She depended on us completely. Having never been a parent, I could not compare experiences, but I imagined this somewhat resembled bringing home an infant. I thought, “At least new born babies cannot get up, run around the room, and destroy our stuff!” Our good friend, whose wife was pregnant at the time, commented, “At least in a couple of years, yours will be calming down while ours is gearing up!” It was a good perspective. The puppy stage would not last forever.
Or Would It?
So, here we are. Six years later and she is STILL WILD! When company comes over, we have to put her in another room with a gate so our guests can warm up to her before we release her. She reminds me of a fluffy love bomb that must explode on anyone and everyone she encounters. If she growls at you, do not worry, she will be smiling and jumping on you soon.
Back when I was working full time and dreaming of babies and puppies, a co-worker, who brought home a golden retriever puppy two months before her first daughter was born, told me, “Get a puppy before you have a baby.” After having my Ramsey Girl for just a little while, I could not imagine how she managed a puppy and an infant simultaneously! Let me tell you, her advice was sound!
Before our precious pup came home with us, we were like two excited and anxious parents-to-be. We bought loads of toys and every accessory we could possibly need. We were giddy. When we arrived to pick her up, she was clean, poofy, and asleep. She was ours. I could not believe it. We were finally going to be puppy parents. (Look how cuddly she is! My heart is full.)
We brought her home and I promptly set off… the fire alarm. (Sigh.) Something about having this small creature in my house threw me off and I was not thinking clearly. While Eric ran an errand to the pet store, I put a pot of drained noodles on the stove to keep them warm. I thought they were on low, but surprise! In my mentally frazzled state, I set the stove on high and went outside with the pup. When I walked back in, the alarm was going off and I panicked. So much so, I forgot for a second that Ramsey was still outside. When it occurred to me, I whipped around only to see a small, frightened, golden face looking at me through the glass. I ran outside to get her and then tried desperately to stop the ear piercing alarm. With no luck, I barricaded Ramsey and me into the back room of our house – Ramsey whining and me sobbing.
To this day she is HORRIFIED by the sound of a fire alarm – even the first few chirps – even on TV.
Eric came home a few minutes later and… with zero effort… turned off the alarm. The entire house smelled like smoke – not the way I envisioned our puppy paradise. Because the back room was the only tolerable place to be, Eric told me to sleep in there with the pup so she and I would not have to breathe the fumes. Every time she rolled over, I woke up. What if something happens to her on her first night here?! Needless to say, I did not get much sleep.
After a few more nights, Eric and I were both exhausted. She is a puppy. Not an infant! How could we have possibly known we would be this tired? She woke up early, whined constantly, and could not be tamed. Having just left my job at Liberty University the day before we picked her up, I watched longingly as my neighbor got in his car to head for work. I was jealous! This was not what I signed up for when I brought home the bundle of my dreams.
How Does it Feel?
After a few days with our newest family member, one of Eric’s co-workers asked him, “So, how does it feel to have something that depends on you for everything?” Clearly, neither Eric nor I had experienced such a feeling before July 2010. Though it may seem small in the grand scheme of life, bringing home a pet was a life changing experience for us. It was probably the first time it occurred to me how difficult it is to be a parent. Even as exhausted as I was, I knew having Ramsey was far less stressful and demanding than parenting a human child. This was only a taste!
As is typically the case, it became much easier. We went through an obedience course and Ramsey passed with flying colors – also earning an award for learning the most tricks. ~smile~ She is now my loyal companion and allowed on almost all of the furniture. Christmas morning is a happy time for her. She is our fur baby.
As of now, Eric and I have not experienced the joy of becoming parents; and, when I think about all child rearing requires, I am thankful we had the chance to get our feet wet with a wild and wacky puppy dog before diving head first into the rigors of parenting. I know we still have tons to learn, but we do know what it is like to have someone depend on us for everything – and that is a lesson we are glad we learned before filling a bassinet.
Couples everywhere bring home bundles of baby joy every day without first “raising” a pet… and they do just fine. Still, if you have the chance to welcome a sweet puppy or kitten into your fold before you become a parent, you may find them to be valuable trainers.
I will have to rewrite this post in a few years after Eric and I welcome our own little people. I will be interested to learn just how much Ramsey taught us about parenthood. ~smile~
Happy Birthday, Ramsey Girl!!! You have made our lives so much happier.
Have you ever had anyone depend on you completely for survival?