“Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.”
― Anatole France
I wanted a dog, but John was hesitant.
We had been married four years and spent the first three careening from one relationship pothole to the next. Even though we were making progress it was still proving difficult to extricate ourselves from the emotional damage caused by our failed first marriages.
So why would we want to complicate our life by bringing a dog into our relationship?
I was confident that a puppy’s superpower of cuteness would fill in those relationship potholes in our marriage.
Plus, the timing felt right. John and I had worked hard at our marriage and we deserved a fluffy and cuddly distraction.
Luckily John’s heart melted like hot wax when we began looking at pictures of puppies online. There was no turning back as we analyzed the type of dog that would best suit our lifestyle.
Back in those pre-RV days, our newly found puppy passion added joy to our evenings. Having a shared focus drew us closer together as a couple. We agreed on nearly all aspects of dogs…and devoured Cesar Milan’s training techniques like warm chocolate chip cookies.
Weeks of breeder research landed us at the doorstep of Homestead Cockapoos located in Watertown, Wisconsin.
Imagine our surprise as we approached a farmhouse complete with wrap-around porch displaying huge hanging baskets of flowers.
Memories of “The Walton’s” danced in my head as we rang the doorbell. Almost immediately two beautiful cocker spaniels greeted us as Phil the owner ushered us into his home. In the middle of the cozy living room sat a large dog kennel covered with a blanket.
Phil replied “That’s Princess and her babies. She just delivered them three weeks ago.” We were allowed to take a peek but could not touch.
OMG. We peeked under the blanket to find five puppies nestled into Princess. She looked at us with guarded curiosity as our ears savored the squeaky din of her pups.
Our timing was perfect to receive a copper-colored Cockapoo that summer.
When the litter was born, we hightailed it to Phil’s farmhouse to drop off our dirty socks and pick out Penny. (Cesar Milan had recommended this for the pup to get used to our scent.)
Those next six weeks of waiting felt like watching snails cross a road.
Finally, Penny’s homecoming day arrived. Phil escorted us across velvety grass to an enclosed pen which contained Penny, her siblings, her momma, and our dirty socks!
Phil gently wrapped Penny in a receiving blanket that contained her momma’s scent and handed her to me. “Hold her close but don’t talk too loud. Just let her smell you”.
It’s been five years since we picked up our sweet puppy.
Every day Penny rescues us from self-centeredness and her presence has strengthened John and my relationship in so many ways.
How has your pet influenced your relationship potholes? I’d love to hear your stories in the comments below.
P.S. Read more Penny stories here: