Well who would ever have thought that I would learn so much about love, parenting and grandparenting from a dog? So here I am at the age of 60 with two children in their 30’s, neither of them with partners and the likelihood of grandchildren way off the radar. I have never hankered to be a grandmother, so their single and childless status has never bothered me in the slightest.
But then something unexpected happened, I inadvertently became a grandmother myself, well not to a child per se, but to a 6 month old pup!!
As it so happens our daughter lives in a separate house on our rural property and a joint decision was made to bring another dog into our lives. This all happened in a matter of a few days, so totally unexpected.
Here I was all of a sudden put into the position of caring for a young dog whilst its human parent went off to work every day.
Always having had dogs around, it was relatively easy, although quite time consuming, to look after a young 6 month old pup. Interestingly enough this dog is very attached to me and has been since she arrived. For the first few weeks she chose to be around my feet most of the day and grizzled and sooked if she wasn’t. If I moved into another room so would she; regardless of whether she was asleep or not, she would wake, get up and follow me to where I was. I have never had a dog that behaved this way, so it was very interesting, perplexing, and if I am totally honest, sometimes annoying. I knew there was something for me to learn from this, that much I got.
At first, I felt that perhaps she was my dog in a previous life and that I had abandoned her and this time she was making sure that I didn’t do that again. I have never fussed over dogs, I certainly have always ensured that their daily needs were met and met well – with walks, fresh water, good food – keeping an eye on them if their behaviour changed for any reason, and generally observing them in case something was not quite right, but never have I been the one to sit and just pat them for the sake of it.
Oh, but then I had the Aha moment! This was how I brought up my two kids, doing all the tick box things but never spending that extra time to just be with them. My daughter’s dog is teaching me this, oh my gosh, what a blessing that is.
Then there has been the added unexpected bonus that my daughter and I through all of this have become closer, and a deeper level of respect and love has blossomed between us.
It really wasn’t a surprise when we discovered that we are aligned in the way in which we choose to discipline, feed, walk, etc. my daughter’s dog. However it was my daughter who kept bringing it to my attention that all her dog wanted was a good hug and pat from me, and for me to spend some time with her not in the not doing, but just being. Even with all the gentle and loving suggestions and prompting from my daughter, it still took some time for the penny to drop as to what was going on.
We have also had so many funny moments along the way, where we can laugh at each other and the silliness of the whole situation. It truly is joyous to have this little or not so little dog in our care who is showing me about love and so much more.
Annie M., Australia
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