White Dog saw me looking at the photos of a litter of 9-week old Eskie puppies. I was awwwwwing in delight and when Steve glanced over my shoulder, he too, commented that there is nothing cuter that the white ball of fluff that is a baby Eskie.
"Tell me, momma," White Dog asked. "Do you regret that I am the only one of the White Dog Army who you got to squeal over and experience the adorableness of puppyhood with?"
"I wonder sometimes what each of your sisters and brothers were like as babies. I wish I had been there to spare each of them the pain or neglect that ultimately brought them to our door. I wish that they had been here to be educated and groomed and fussed over and pampered and loved just like you were...and that each one had the chance to grow up to be divas."
"But do you miss the funny antics and the madly dashing about with boundless energy and a younger dog's willingness to play more, to be daring, to do tricks, to change every single day like a flower opening?" White Dog persisted.
"Little White Dog of My Heart, you gave us all of those things and it was an amazing experience. But you were exhausting as a pup and demanded every single second of our lives. How could dad and I have possibly done that if there was six of you?
"We are older now, too. And our lives have gotten more complex. The White Dog Army is mature enough to be content supervising dad doing his schoolwork...I am not sure a puppy would have such patience.
"And little 11 week old Lucy just ate her grandma's cell phone. And remember when baby Dragon ate Gregg and Candace's sofa? And then there is potty training...and teaching party manners...and setting limits.
"The White Dog Army each came to us at a point in their life when their demands were of a different kind. They needed to learn to trust again and thus, required calm, gentle, timelessness. They needed to feel safe. They needed attention on their terms and based on their abilities. Remember how Puff would not even let me pet her for weeks?
"Most important, Quinn, Nuka, Puff, Yo, and Oso required a family to love them and for them to love in return that came with a promise of forever and a guarantee that they would always have a life of dignity and understanding. Puppies just assume those things are theirs and they grow in your heart with every waddle and kiss; a senior dog looks into your eyes and asks you to make a conscious choice to give your heart in that instant.
"We were lucky enough to watch you grow into an elegant graceful leader AND we have been blessed with five battle scarred and world wise Babies to watch find themselves and their own voices and to become confident enough to create a pack, a family. I know how much each of you have struggled to get there. I am daily amazed that every single one of the WDA successfully made that transition.
"Puppies are fun to play with and cute as buttons (and I would not trade a single memory or photo of you during those days) but I find now that the joy of seeing you all resting quietly together in a sunpuddle fills my heart in a way no puppy experience could. I have not a single regret."
"Really?" White Dog asked.