Ever since I was young I knew I didn’t want to have children. I never got that pang, that hormonal urge for the pitter patter of little baby feet. When my sister had her son, I was the go-to baby sitter – that all worked out well. No child was hurt in the making of my babysitting time. Well…there was that one time that I gave too much candy to my neighbor’s child. Kids can throw up…a lot. Think Linda Blair in ‘The Exorcist’ throw-up. In all honesty, seems I wasn’t cut out for children. Human children. But I’m definitely cut out to be a pet parent with fuzzy children.
Some people are offended by the concept that I would call my dog my child. But in all honesty, I’m not taking anything away from anyone, and I’m not picketing for paid stay-at-home time whenever a dog is adopted. A child is a little one that needs nurturing, guidance, and love. My child happens to be fuzzy. Oh, don’t get me wrong, I’ve seen fuzzy children. When one of my nephews was born he was a fuzzy little guy. But, unlike my nephew, my fuzzy children retain their fuzz. They also bark, chew things, require kind corrections, and need potty training.
The first thing that made me think of my dog as my ‘child’ was the overwhelming feeling of love that came over me when he came into my life. Mattie was adopted from a local shelter. From the moment I got him I had this instant bond. He trusted me with his life. His life! That’s pretty big stuff for someone who never wanted a child. But there I was…and there he was. He needed immediate care as he was sick from being on the streets. In the time that I spent syringe feeding him and nursing him back to health I knew that something had changed… Changed in me. I was acting in a completely selfless way. I was a mom.
A dog is the one thing that you bring in to your life knowing you will have to say goodbye.
And Like a Mom, the Pain…
Life is fleeting isn’t it. It goes by with such boundless joy that we think it’s endless. But it is not. Each cell has a lifecycle and you can only generate so many new cells…aging happens. Even to children. Including fuzzy children. My fuzzy child developed renal issues. My fuzzy child stopped existing on this worldly plain because his little body could not co-exist with his kidney disease…and I lost my Mattie. I had no idea that grief could wake you, shaking, sobbing and gasping for air, from a complete sleep. Not just once, but night after night for months. Or that the sound of a banana (Mattie’s favorite treat) being peeled could freeze me – shocked, unable to move or blink, tears silently pooling only to fall over the top of my lower eyelid, drip down my face and neck and leave my shirt all wet. I had no idea the human body could ache so intensely…and so relentlessly. Today, after numerous years without my boy, it doesn’t hurt any less. I have just learned to cope, to recognize the triggers that stir up the pain.
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How Do You Love Again?
It’s a unique decision I’m sure. I read books (listed above). I talked to a therapist – I felt guilty for my grief, as though I shouldn’t be so grief stricken. Slowly I healed some… Little-by-little. Ultimately it was Mattie who inspired me to seek happiness again. I came to understand that I liked who Mattie helped me become. I liked me when I was with Mattie. He taught me how to love, how to be selfless, how to be generous, how to be less serious, and ultimately how to be vulnerable. He changed me. And I welcomed the change, and I didn’t want to lose the new me by being afraid to love again. So, after some time, me and my Better Whole sought out more fuzzy children to adopt! Are they Mattie? Heck no, he’s so special I wrote a book about him. But, here’s the thing…they are unique and wonderful in their own way. No two are alike – just like human children. Fact is, I love being a dog mom!
Can a Childless Mother Have Fuzzy Children?
In some venues I’m childless, but in my world I’m mom to a fuzzy son, and now mom to numerous fuzzy children. My special one who taught me how to be a mom – he’s the best dog that’s ever lived, my little Buddha dog! Every pet parent has their own unique and special Buddha dog – and if you are lucky, you’ll have a few in your lifetime. Just like a human mom – each child is unique and wonderful, so you can’t just love one…you love them all. I’m proud to be a mom to fuzzy children and while my kids don’t bring home elementary school art projects to hang on my fridge, they do bring me love…lots and lots of love. Maybe I will petition after all – yeah, I think I’ll ask Hallmark to add a few pet-parent cards for Mother’s and Father’s Day!