“Maybe you need another one,” Mama suggested gently one day.
“No,” I said vehemently. “I still have Punk and Doodle, and Mama, you can’t replace the one you lost. You just can’t.”
Plus, how in the world could another pup be as sweet as that pup had been? She was love embodied and had such a pure soul. Another dog would not even compare.
“Not saying replace; that’s impossible. Ava was special,” Mama agreed. “But, y’all have so much love to give and maybe getting another German Shepherd will help you heal.”
I wasn’t sure.
Ava had left a huge hole in my heart. I didn’t know that another pup could possibly fill it.
But I knew we all didn’t feel right without a German Shepherd.
“I don’t know how we could possibly ever have a pup as sweet as Ava was,” I said. “She had the best temperament and was just Miss Personality Plus. There will never be another Ava.”
“No,” Lamar agreed. “She was one of a kind.”
He was heartbroken, maybe more than I was.
There’s just so many things to consider.
We wanted to rescue an older GSD -- give one that needed a home a soft place to land and be loved.
We know our hearts may run the risk of losing it early like we did Ava.
But we ran into roadblocks in our search. Some were best suited to be solo pups, and some were not cat friendly.
“I’m not sure about this,” Lamar said. “I don’t know if I can go through this again.”
I could definitely understand his concern. He had been Ava’s trainer and then her caregiver. A big chunk of his heart died with her.
Since we’ve been married, the longest we’ve gone without a German Shepherd was six months and that was the longest time period ever.
Searching one night, I came across a posting for some puppies and messaged the seller. Within an hour, I had received photos of adorable little nuggets along with the mother and father.
“Lamar,” I nudged him awake. “Puppies.” I shoved the phone towards him.
“Do we want a puppy?” he asked.
I wasn’t sure.
Puppies are a lot like newborns. They require a lot of work, a lot of planning, puppy-proofing the cabin that has been used to more mature pups. There’s housetraining, which can be easier with a more established pack to help them learn the ropes, but there will still be accidents.
There’s teething and chewing. Doodle ate about seven pairs of shoes, a pack of Velcro rollers, and a rocking chair when she was a puppy. Yes, a whole chair. She started on a table, too.
There’s nighttime whining when trying to adjust to a new setting without their littermates.
There’s several vet visits to get them all of their shots, then spayed.
There’s training and learning their personalities and them finding their place in the pack.
But there’s also puppy snuggles and cuddles, adorable antics and puppy breath.
“Puppy,” I said as I fell asleep, and puppy was the first word I uttered when I woke.
I asked countless questions about the puppy. Health of the mom and dad. How many litters had they had before. Anything else I could think to ask, I did. The owner was patient and understanding with my questions and answered each one.
“How would I get you a deposit?” was one last question.
“Did you really just put a deposit down on a puppy?” Lamar asked.
“Puppies are a lot of work,” he said.
“Yeah.” Did I do the wrong thing?
He was quiet for a few moments.
“Did you get a male or female?”
“What are we gonna name her?”
After hours of researching and going back and forth we finally decided on Mia — which means beloved — the one name we all could agree on.
We were nervous and anxious; we know all the work that comes along with getting a puppy, and we know sadly, that one day, we will have our hearts broken all over again.
But we also know that love outweighs the pain every time and makes it all so very much worth it.
Sudie Crouch is an award-winning humor columnist residing in the North Georgia Mountains among the bears, deer, and possibly Sasquatch. You can connect with her on Facebook at Mama Said: A Collection of Wit, Humor, and Deep-Fried Wisdom. Her recently published book, ‘Mama Said: A Collection of Wit, Wisdom, and Deep-Fried Humor’ is available in paperback and Kindle download on Amazon.