Family Dog

So today Mom went to look at a dog we may get. A fourth dog! Wow!

He’ll be filling a hole we haven’t had since our dog Max passed away…the Family Dog. Chloe is mom’s hearing assistance dog, my two dogs are, well, my two dogs…the Family Dog has a special place in the family. He gets the attention of four of us, rather than just mostly from the one owner. The Family Dog is usually more spoiled and more cuddled. He is special.

Whether this one ends up being the Family Dog or not, I’m not sure. But we need one. It may seem funny saying the house feels empty without the Family Dog with three other dogs, three cats, and a bird wandering the house. But it does feel strangely like something is missing.

Despite my excitement at hearing about a possible new addition to our furry family members group, I ended up sitting down on the floor and crying. (Sitting on the floor certainly looks more pitiful when you are crying, but in this case I was merely sitting on the floor because my water bed has a hole in it. Every time I sit on it, it spits out water. Then that would make me laugh and when you are trying to have a good cry, you certainly do not want to be laughing.)

Talking about getting a new Family Dog made the loss of our old Family Dog, Max. I honestly can barely remember NOT having Max. He was with me more of my life than not. He was always there to cuddle, to talk to, to play with, and was always the loyal friend. He was with me as other animals and people passed in and out of my life. Constant. Loyal.

So many people think it is silly to mourn a pet. I never thought it was. After all, I am with my dogs more than I am relatives or friends. (Not to say I love my animals more than my relatives…but I certainly would rather be with my dogs than most of my relatives. Ahem.)

Also, I think you form a different kind of bond with something that is dependent on you. Especially with dogs…you ARE their world. (Cats…well, you are their cook. ) Max adored his family….oftentimes he would just sit and stare at us lovingly. You could almost see him thinking “awww, this is my pack!” He would also follow us around constantly. If he was a person, he would be a Stalker. But since he is an animal, he was just loyal.

I miss Max. This new Family Dog, if we get him, will never fill the role Max did…not the same way. This dog will have his own personality and way of filling the role, but it will still be a special bond, an animal that is part of the family, interwoven into the family, giving us all someone in common.

I look forward to hearing the shouts about the house again: “It’s your dog too! YOU let him outside! It’s your turn!”

Kyersten Portis

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