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Anchor Mom: Are you a dog mother?

LuLu and MaMa Am I a dog lover? YES!

Am I a dog mother? YES!

Sounds crazy, but I know all you pet parents will agree — caring for your dog or cat prepares you for parenthood.

Pets have always been a part of my life. I’ve had several goldfish, a bunny named Freddy and three dogs.

The first dog to enter my  life  was Oliver, a Lakeland Terrier.  I was just a little girl when he was around and my memories are few. What I remember most– Oliver ruining countless Easter Sundays by finding our handmade eggs in the garden before we did.  What we discovered on our annual hunt– broken shells– and it never failed to break our hearts.

Next up, Heidi, a Bichon Frise that we adopted from a neighborhood family.  Heidi was “my” dog.  She went with me wherever I went. I even put her in a backpack and took her on my wild adventures.   I fed her. I bathed her and  I loved her.  Little did I know how much you could REALLY love a dog.

May 2007– Welcome LuLu Long

My husband and I don’t know how it happened, but one day we decided we wanted a Boston Terrier.  We waited  three years until we had a our first home with a spacious yard before we began our puppy search.  We wanted the right pet to complete our family and we found a runt, Little LuLu.

LuLu is spry, funny, energetic, loyal and oh, so loving.   We took her home at 8 weeks and our life changed forever — overnight potty breaks, training pads, hand feeding and countless vet appointments.  All of a sudden, my husband and I were connected to this dog. She was our responsibility and we took it seriously.  I think it shows as she is well-trained minus her strange tendencies to steal socks and shoes. She’s also a great guard dog.  As little as she is, she can make any handyman a little uneasy with her  ferocious bark.

As a couple hoping to have a child, LuLu filled a need. I immediately noticed changes in myself as I mothered her, which was something I never experienced as a child taking care of my other pets.  I became aware of  a shift in priorities.  I  let go of material possessions.  I’ll never forget when we permitted LuLu additional freedom in our living room — she had unlimited access to our  leather sofa, Oriental rug, and coffee table.  My husband and I purchased the items together just before getting married so they were very special.  Little LuLu decided to teethe on my table.  I was surprised at my reaction to the bite marks — I wasn’t  as disappointed as I thought I would be.  Where was my anger? Why wasn’t I raging mad?  In that moment I learned what all parents learn: we love our children so much that we can overlook their shortcomings. It’s like a super hero power.   Yes, I have a job to teach LuLu right from wrong, but even when she does a wrong, I still love her. Truth be told,  I smile when I see those little teeth marks.  My couch has also undergone a major change: a permanent indentation from her 18 pound body.  The couch is her window to the world — her perch where she sets up to guard us.   A small price to pay for her devotion to this family.  I’ve simply learned to fluff up the cushion before company arrives.

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Many people told me that LuLu would be chopped liver when my son was born. That never happened.  She’s an integral part of our family and is included in every Christmas card.  She’s even a featured character in my husband’s children’s book. LuLu knows she can count on us for daily walks, fun excursions, meals and treats. A family vacation wouldn’t be complete without LuLu. Sure I trained her to do tricks and to listen and obey, but she trained me to be a mom: to be patient, compassionate and nurturing. She prepared me for my son, Douglas.

Thanks to LuLu, we are more than a family.  We think like dogs. Our motto: “We are a pack and we stick together like that.”

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