My Dog Filled the Baby Void

Image source: Lori Garcia
Image source: Lori Garcia

Not long ago, I wrote that my heart will never be done having babies because the truth is, with every inch grown and skill mastered that brings my kids one step closer to independence, I ache a little.

Or actually, a lot.

I suppose it’s to be expected. Motherhood is, after all, a front-loaded gig. From the moment I brought my precious babies home, I was in awe of how much of myself was required to do the job right. I gave every ounce of my heart to these perfect humans until they became as necessary to my survival as the air I breathe.

And it worked.

All that hard work and caring, worked. And it was good. It was good for a good long while until my kids reached a certain age, and it just wasn’t anymore. Without warning or instruction, I, like every mom, found myself towing the blurred line between being there and standing back.

And it felt pretty empty. How does one go from Mommy! Mommy! Mommy! to I got this, Mom without feeling any other way?

I found myself wondering what I was supposed to do with all this untapped love and energy. Should I have another baby? I’ve heard that works, but I ended up with a dog. And I don’t even really like dogs.

For years, I’ve been staving off litters of doggone questions and puppy-eyed musings, like:

Can we please, please, please get a dog?

If I only had a dog …

I’ve wanted a dog my whole life!

Because for years, canine companionship wasn’t worth the extra hassle for me. I was busy — busy with kids. I didn’t want or need the responsibility of a furry friend with questionable potty habits. Or the vet bills. Or the fear of accidentally leaving the gate open. What I wanted was peace in my heart and in my home. Could a dog offer all that? I had my doubts.

Then, on Labor Day, our neighbor knocked on the door … with a dog. A maltese to be exact, looking for a fur-ever home.

In just three weeks, Vito has done more to bring our family together than I ever could have imagined.
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As everyone crowded around to love up on this fluffy white wonder, I stood back. If this pup was half as intuitive as everyone always says dogs are, he’d need to make a dog lover out of me — and fast. And wouldn’t you know, of all the laps available and eager arms ready to love, pet, and play, the dog chose me. Within minutes, the kids named him Vito and in a very bold and uncharacteristic move, I welcomed Vito into our family.

What I didn’t expect was what Vito would go on to do for my heart.

Strangely, my arms weren’t so empty anymore. The loneliness that seemed to follow me was no longer there. I was needed again in the constant and familiar ways I’d always been, and for the first time in a long time, I felt at peace.

In just three weeks, Vito has done more to bring our family together than I ever could have imagined. The kids insist on joining me for evening walks with the dog. They fight over space on the couch to cuddle with him, and together, the five of us feel so unexpectedly complete.

I guess sometimes the answer to your heart’s unspoken prayer really can come knocking on your front door.

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Article Posted 4 years Ago

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