Monday, February 21, 2011

Learning to say goodbye....

Raising puppies is one of the most rewarding things I have ever done;  it's a lot of hard work, a lot of sleepless nights, a lot of cleaning and scrubbing, worrying and watching.  From the moment they birth, wet and tiny in my hands as I cut the cord that connects them to their Mothers, to the moment they go out the door in the arms of the special someone who will love them "forever" they are an enormous joy.

I love everything about them,  their little cries like seagulls when they first find their voices, the times they suckle on my fingertips and the end of my nose, watching them learn to play with toys, and of course the smell of puppy breath.  This last time was chaotic and crazy having two litters at once, but there is not a single moment I would take back in it.  Each puppy is special, individual, unique, and much loved.  I have fussed over them and fed them with a spoon, watched them toddle through their first steps, and who could forget the photo montages with puppies tucked into a Santa hat?  Holding a warm puppy in my arms while I sat alone on Christmas just enjoying the fact that I wasn't really alone with them there.

I'm not the only one who has benefited, though.  Daisy - who behaved like a shelter dog from the moment I fell in love and brought her home as a "timing out puppy" from the pet store - has become a more stable and balanced dog after going through the process of being with the first litters of puppies and then becoming a Mother herself.  Surprisingly, she is quieter, less prone to be jealous, eager to play and interact with my remaining dogs.  Now, when I tell her to "sit" for her treat there is no panic that the other dogs may get her share, just calm acceptance that she will get her turn when she behaves, and I'm glad for her.  She has a bounce to her step and has even welcomed the occasional guest that pops by. 

As each puppy left and went to their new families I felt a small part of my heart go with them;  Kaya Lou, Painter, Patches, Coco, Prince, Bodie, Katinka, Mercedes, Molly and Dexter eventually found their forever homes after weeks of posting ads, flashing photographs, spreading word of mouth and taking texts and phone calls.  Only one - Pixie - has yet to find her "forever home".  And in the process of finding those perfect matches for each puppy I realized that the right person always comes for a puppy;  no matter how much you worry, post, fuss, panic, no matter how many calls you take at odd hours, no matter the stretch of time, each puppy has someone out there who is waiting for them.   You know instantly when that love bonds the right person to the puppy that will be theirs.   And although I do love my little puppies and feel responsible for them I still have to let them go and be with the ones who make a choice to take them home.

It made me realize something about myself.  No matter how much I fuss and worry, no matter how long I am alone and single, when the time is right - and not until then - there will be someone out there for me.  That is the hardest part at the moment as I make the final arrangements to end my 36 year relationship with my Divorce.  And I have to remember that although what I had wasn't real I always thought it was, and grieving for a dream is still grieving.  It may be a long time until I get past this part of the process.  In the meantime I am learning to say goodbye and still embrace the love that I shared.  Puppies are good at teaching that.  I cry a little as each one leaves, but puppies have no regrets.  They are, quite simply, a joy.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Spring cleaning.... or not....

Ah... the first breath of spring on the West Coast, and my thoughts turn to the garden.  Left untended for much too long, it has taken on a life of it's own over the last two winters, and requires MASSIVE taming!  With the thawing of the lily pond I know it's time to get on with it, and a plan is really required to get everything done on schedule, but as I've said " the best laid plans....", and the roly-poly hamsters (aka. Penny's latest puppies) have decided the yard it their "it" spot.

After checking to make sure the fences are still in place and there are no escape routes for creatures that weigh less than three pounds I dug myself into it.  My first big job was, of course, removing all the trash and the recycling from the move.  Two very smelly trips in my van loaded to the nines to the transfer station, one very loaded trip with a trailer to recycling, and then just the sweep up.... still took a week.  I included cleaning the "damper" in the steel stove my Dad built, changing the stove pipe, and piling up some hardwood cuttings for burning.  Well, the patio area is covered with dirt, puppy poop, doggie poop, sawdust (from various house improvement projects), the hose has kinked over on itself and will need to be replaced, and I still need to wash everything down as best I can.  I continue to find piles of junk in corners, and to top it off my evil cat, Xena, still thinks the living room rug is a good place for a catbox so I  keep her captive in the bathroom at night and throw her outside in the day time.  However, I am on my second "Rug Doctor" rental... on the first clear day we've had in ages... and it's my day off... and I don't get to put it off as the puppies have "interviews" this week and I certainly don't want THAT smell to put people off.

So, now I am trying vainly to forge ahead on cleaning while the day slips further away;  I have misplaced my car keys, torn my finger nails, had a puppy "sneak" into the bathtub to raid the catbox and proceed to "barf" the ill gotten goods onto my bedroom carpet; the Rug Doctor is already late for returning so I'll call them and let them know I have it for another day; there is a load of laundry in the washer, one in the dryer, one on the floor ready to load, and about three on the dining table awaiting sorting and folding, only I haven't figured out where to put the kitchen linen yet and I'm out of drawer space; my African Violets got dumped and now they need repotting; and the gift I so cleverly purchased months ago for my best friend's birthday is probably in the storage locker, and as stated before I have misplaced my keys so you can guess where the key for THAT lock is....  Chaos once more...  I sense a pattern here.

I still dream sometimes that I am in my old bedroom, or coming home to my house with my family, that everything is where I left it the last time;  the gift is sitting in the spare bedroom in the dresser drawer; my favorite painting hangs on the wall over my bed; the linen fits in the drawer in the kitchen; the bathtub is wonderfully deep and none of the dogs want to jump in...   Funny thing is I'm more fit, more trim, more emotionally balanced, more energetic, and yet I keep myself stuck with lists I'm not staying on track with.  I have  called my daughter more times in the last week than I did in the previous two months; spent more time with my sons as well; cooked myself more meals and spent less time sleeping.  I haven't napped for days and I don't really feel like I need one.  But life is completely different in a way that keeps me off balance.  I have to keep moving forward so I won't fall flat on my face.  I think the real difference is that one thing in me has finally changed;  I actually care about things because at last the fight is over; the most important of the paperwork has finally been signed and  I get to go on with my life.  I can really make something new without feeling as if I am rudderless.  From here on in if I fail - and I expect I will a time or two - it is on my own merit.  If it doesn't get done it's because I didn't do it!  The acceptance of that has made me feel immeasurably younger and I'm ready to take on the next step.... I just have to remember "you can only do one thing at a time, so do it well and ON time, because waiting for someone else to do it for you will make you fail EVERY time..."

So for now it's back to feeling Spring course through my veins, wake up my spirit and put a smile on my face.  I'll be cleaning my carpets tonight and taking care of all those other things in an orderly and TIMELY fashion...  Perhaps a walk to the storage locker will clear my head and give my doggies a nice break.  Who knows;  I may even unearth that gift... I may remember where I put it during my exposure to fresh air and sunshine.... but first I have to find my keys..........