Boo has gone through a lot of changes these last few months.
She lost her best friend, Ava — her backup, her sissie, her comforter, and partner in crime.
Once she realized Ava was gone, she had what can only be described as a puppy breakdown and then went through a bout of depression.
She was pitiful.
To help both of them heal, Lamar started training her, something Doodle hadn’t been too interested in before.
Angel — her Christian-given name — had been completely content with her role and position as baby girl and sole responsibility of entertaining us with her adorableness.
Within a matter of days, she was stepping up as the protector and defender, knowing Pumpkin is older and enjoying her early retirement on the couch, free from the concern of bears.
Even though Doodle was falling into her new routine, we still noticed how she had lost her playfulness.
It was like her joy was gone now that Ava was.
Then we brought Mia home.
Before she arrived, Lamar expressed some concerns about how Doodle may respond.
“We have to remember that Doodle has murdered things that are smaller than her,” Lamar said.
The memory of that did worry me.
There was a bunny when Boo was just four months old, and a whole family of sweet, precious possums.
We didn’t quite trust her with Sexy Frank, as there were occasions she would walk away and other times, the pittie-mix would drop her head down and go into predator mode with them having a stand off at the baby gate.
Of course, I don’t worry too much about the formerly feral now domesticated mini-panther; that 11-pound cat gave me a black eye and I’m pretty sure the only reason he’s not plotting my death is because I feed him.
“You don’t think she will hurt Mia do you?” I asked.
Lamar glanced at Doodle, looking all innocent as she was curled up sleeping.
“We don’t know how she will act with a puppy.”
True. Ava was 11-months old and much bigger than Boo.
So I worried. We all worried.
Doodle shocked us with her previous crimes. She was normally a shy little pupper, and never barked until recently. Well, she barked at my mama, but Mama was threatening to puppy-nap her.
So we had no idea how she would react to a new puppy.
Would she be aggressive or just not care? Would getting a new puppy sink her further into depression?
I knew Pepper had been depressed when Comet passed away and she wasn’t too happy when I brought Punk home. Of course, the evil beagle wasn’t thrilled over Doodle either, giving her a snort before she waddled out of the room.
But we were in for the biggest surprise and change of them all — Doodle stepped into the role of being a surrogate mom to Mia.
When we brought the tiny puppy home, Lamar took great care in introducing her to the others; except for the cat, because he can be quite violent when he’s jealous.
Punk sniffed her, realized she was a baby and promptly ran back inside, far away from her. Punk is more interested in herding than being buddies, so she wasn’t too excited about the prospect of a puppy.
Doodle was curious as to what she was, looking at the puppy with great interest.
At first, she was a bit unsure of this little ball of fur, sleeping on the dog bed on the floor instead of with us where she normally slept. It was as if she was a bit hesitant to be near the puppy.
Then, miraculously it was as if some maternal instinct had kicked in.
Doodle suddenly started guiding Mia, giving her sweet nudges to let her know what to do, and playing with her. She’d correct her gently, and any time Mia cried, Doodle immediately tended to her.
Mia would get a bit alarmed when the pittie-mix would rev up and run to hide behind Lamar’s legs until she quickly learned that Doodle was playing and joined in.
Doodle had never had a litter of puppies but suddenly was being the best mama she could to Mia.
Her disposition had totally changed from being depressed to having a sweet countenance as she embraced her motherhood. She didn’t have to give birth to be a good mama or to love Mia; she was raising Mia and taking care of her as if she was her own.
After an hour of playing in the yard, Doodle came in and hopped up on the bed, lying down with a contented sigh, Mia curling up beside her.
Just like every mother — whether human or animal — can understand, no matter how much you love your baby, you need that rest too.
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.