We got a puppy this weekend. We now have three golden retrievers. Yes, you read that right. THREE. I also have three kids, two cats, and a husband that some days might as well be a fourth child. Our house is busy. It’s loud. It’s chaotic. Neighborhood kids are always showing up to play. Two of my three are in little league. The other is a feisty toddler who cannot be tamed. My oldest is in basketball and baseball. If we are home, and that is a big if, we are cleaning messes, doing laundry, kissing boo boo’s, making food for someone or some thing, or hiding in the closet, crying. You get the idea. I know it’s probably the same at your house too. Solidarity, fellow parents.
*Fist in the air*
So why did we add a new puppy you ask? We did not want another dog. We weren’t even looking. But sometimes in life you get an opportunity to do the right thing, to follow your heart, maybe even take a chance, and it tends to work out.
Saturday morning I woke up to a text from a neighbor that simply said “do you guys want Lily?” That is the new puppy. Let me rewind a little.
We have been puppy-sitting Lily for our neighbors for a few months now. They wanted someone with other dogs so she wouldn’t be lonely while they were gone. We connected via Facebook, had a play date with our kids and dogs at the neighborhood dog park, and that led to us watching her while her family was out of town.
Lily fit right in. I honestly didn’t notice a difference in a third dog being here, like I mentioned, our house is chaotic already. Our oldest dog, Riley, wasn’t too keen on a new young pup in the mix. She had a few growls to share warmed up quickly. I had a feeling Lily was special. Our other dog, Tilly, would play with her for hours, just like at the dog park. The kids would sometimes join in and everyone would sleep well. Win-win! Lily gets along great with our cats. She listens to commands well. Side note- Golden’s make excellent family dogs. The rumors are true! They are easily trainable and great with kids. She is everything you could ask for in a dog.
I won’t discuss the details but our friends were in a tough spot. Lily needed a new home. I had a long speech prepared for my husband. I was ready to beg. But I didn’t have to. We didn’t even need a long discussion, which surprised me. My husband wanted her here. He would sleep better knowing she was in a safe place, with new sisters, new kids, and surrounded by even more love.
Sunday morning she arrived. Within 10 minutes she was laying down in our living room, as if she had never left. My kids were so escatic to see Lily. But as one family was experiencing the excitement that comes with adding a new family member, another was saying goodbye to their dear Lily. There were a lot of tears. I know her first mom was heartbroken. Knowing there was nothing I could do but love her sweet puppy was a difficult place to be that I didn’t anticipate. I knew I was helping my friends, but it still didn’t feel right. I felt like I was robbing my friends of the amazing experience that comes with owning a dog. There is nothing like the unconditional love of a dog. I asked her if she was sure. She said she didn’t trust anyone else. We cried together. We hugged. I felt my friends love during those embraces. I felt her relief too.
There is a lot of power in saying no. We, as a society talk a lot about embracing this word “no”. Psychology Today puts it: “Wielded wisely, No is an instrument of integrity and a shield against exploitation. It often takes courage to say. It is hard to receive. But setting limits sets us free.”
I feel this in my soul. No is so powerful. But so is yes.
When we were asked to take Lily, my head said no. I immediately thought of all the reasons to . The cost of another dog, the messes, the barking, the 3 of everything, the dog hair, the having to eventually say goodbye three times over; all things I did not want to do. We have enough on our plates. We don’t need this. But then my heart chimed in.
What if I said yes?
What if I stopped worrying about what everyone else will think and we went for it? We decided together that anytime there is an opportunity for more love, it can’t be a bad thing. We need more of that. Our family is craving it. We always talk about Life being too short, and too precious, but rarely do we live it.
So we took a chance. We are only 5 days in, but so far, so good. Lily is home. Everyone is doing well, including her first family. There will be growing pains. There won’t always be good days. But saying yes felt really good. Try it.