Fourteen years ago, I was a new parent. I was a few months into being a dog mom. I took the job very seriously. Our dog, Dudley, attended puppy kindergarten and we made sure he greeted neighborhood children each morning so he could get acclimated around kids before we had our own. He was a fuzzy ball of energy. He was our baby. Randy and I took our job as dog parents like we had to prove something before we brought children into the world.
When we started talking about having kids, I was heartbroken thinking about Dudley being relegated into the standard role of dog. So we got a second dog. A little pug named Bubba. Dudley wasn’t amused. But he tolerated the new family member.
Then the kids arrived and Dudley took the role of protector very seriously. Bubba was not amused by the kids. They stole attention away from him. But Dudley was their friend and protector. By the time Jordan was old enough to really want to play with Dudley, he had started slowing down. He didn’t fetch but he was happy to grab food off of your plate if you walked away from it on the dinner table. Jordan wasn’t amused. But the kids loved that fuzz ball.
Last October, we lost Bubba the pug. It crushed the kids because they didn’t see it coming. They had lost their Grandma the same year. They were learning about loss and the pain that comes with the life cycle. We’re never ready to see our loved ones go. So, for the last year, both kids have talked about how Dudley’s time was running out. He was a full year older than Bubba. Clearly he couldn’t be far behind. So my poor kids who have learned about loss got prepared.
But then it happened, and it still hurt. Dudley’s body gave out from the mean pain of arthritis that controlled his whole body. Telling the kids was miserable. Another loss we never wanted. And we’re already seeing the little differences with a no-dog life. When the kids drop food on the floor, they have to clean it up! Dudley won’t be there to sniff it out and gobble it all down. There isn’t a fluffy dog to feed, or let in and out and in and out the door. It’s just a strange feeling. I’ve been a dog mom for more than 14 years. And I think we’re all just very sad. I’m honored by the outpouring of support on social media. It’s not fun to share sad things… But it feels good to be supported.
Dudley Dog… I miss you, buddy. Thanks for being my very first furbaby. You were always and will always be my pride and joy.