when whimsy won

Early in March, the boys came home with geckos. I lifted my eyebrows at Andy and he said, “It’s better than a dog.” We’ve been saying no to a new dog for nearly a year, ever since we lost our Katie. 

I thought it would subside, but there are regular conversations about having a dog. Always I say, “Yes, that would be fun,” or “I know what you mean,” or “One day you can get a dog.” 

In July, when Sam and I were out for a back-to-school shopping trip, he was pushing hard for a dog. I was tired and snapped: “We’re not getting a dog. Dad doesn’t want a dog. Dad doesn’t feel good. Dad is allergic. Stop dreaming about a dog. It’s not going to happen.”

He deflated. Out of the corner of my eye I saw him shrink. The rest of the drive home was so quiet it hurt my ears and stung my heart. The news spread to the other kids and their hearts shrunk, too.

Meanwhile I felt crummy for placing all of the blame on Andy. Although he had good reasons, we were in the no-dog decision together. Life is much easier without a dog. That night, Andy and I revisited our never-getting-a-new-dog-ever-again decision. It turned out that it wasn’t so much about not wanting a new dog, but not wanting to lose a dog that was the issue.

Our first dog was a Husky and a runner. Our next dog was from the shelter and a biter. Despite their flaws, we loved them both. We are dog people, and our kids are dog people. For dog people, life with a dog is better, regardless of whether it is easier.

In the dark of our bedroom while the  moon hung big and high in the sky, Andy and I talked about getting a dog. We talked about missing our other dogs. We talked about the kids, and how comforting it is to come home to a dog, to come home when you’ve moved away and to be welcomed as though you belong by a dog that remembers you are a favorite forever. We talked about the responsibilities and the not-so-fun parts, and we talked more about the kids and how even the responsibilities and not-so-fun parts  turn out to be good experiences.

We figured out that our kids could use a win.

We brought home our two month old puppy ten days ago. I wanted to name her Whimsy, but Andy vetoed it. We decided Ruby would be a good name; the kids thought otherwise. We put up a little bit of a fight, but the truth is when they talked it through and came up with a name together, my heart melted.

Luna — or The Lunatic, as Andy affectionally calls her — has worked her puppy magic and we are all smitten. Tonight, when Andy came home from work, she bounded to him. “She thinks I’m her favorite,” he said.

I think I’m glad he’s strong enough to let whimsy win.

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  1. So heartwarming! Love that dog. There is something about a dog…and how that dog can bring a family together, provide mental therapy, and love unconditionally. So happy to read about your newest adoption! Brought a smile to my face … as I scratched my Harley-dog behind the ears.

  2. I will never give up on you. I know that the right words will come and you will share. What heart it took to give the kids a win, but I think you won too. She will be a healing force of love in your house.

  3. “The rest of the drive home was so quiet it hurt my ears and stung my heart.” The way you captured this got my attention. Your writing does this, illuminates a small moment so we don’t miss its significance.
    The joy in bringing Luna home shines through! (I am smitten, too!😆🐕❤)

  4. My writer’s eyes see and admire what you did in this line: “In the dark of our bedroom while the moon hung big and high in the sky, Andy and I talked about getting a dog.” That Luna has just the name to suit her. Her joyfulness will surely orbit around your family for many moons. Welcome home, Luna!

  5. Your writing is always beautiful, and I love Luna’s name and the way they all agreed. I keep going back to the line, “We figured out that our kids could use a win.” Simple and powerful. What a special gift to your whole family!

  6. So good to read your words. This is such a heart moving piece. The suddenly exposed harsh truth followed by silence, the conversation, the reconsidering all leading to a dream come true. And whose heart wouldn’t melt thinking of puppy named Luna?

  7. A Bit of Whimsy
    by Joanne Emery
    For Ruth

    The brother plead:
    We want a dog,
    Please get us a dog,
    We want a dog!

    All paws and tummy,
    A lolling pink tongue
    A whipping tail

    The brothers repeat:
    We want a dog,
    Please get us a dog,
    We want a dog!

    A head to pat,
    Sleek fur to rub,
    Chubby puppy to hold.

    Their parents sigh:
    They want a dog,
    They need a dog,
    We’ll get them a dog.

    Ruby bounds into waiting arms,
    Full of wiggles and whimsy,
    Hearts filled with love.