I posted this picture today on facebook as a TBT (Throwback Thursday) photo. That's me with my twin sons, just two weeks old, taken back in 1973. So, you are thinking, "so why the title, a bittersweet picture?"
I ran across this picture recently and it immediately stirred strong feelings inside me. Yes, the picture of me holding my twin sons, brought a tear of joy to my eyes. I was so very happy to bring them into the world as two healthy, full term babies. I always felt having twins was a special gift from God. John and Michael are every mother's dream and I am happy with the way they turned into responsible, intelligent adults. Both married women that I was pleased to welcome into the family and John has given me three grandsons that I love.
But look closer at that picture. In the background. The dog. That is Happy, a Samoyed mix, that my former husband and I got before we had children, as a young puppy.
I was raised in a home with a father who didn't like dogs and did not allow a dog to live in the house. "Dogs are dirty and don't belong in the house," was his sermon. "They carry diseases." So the few dogs I had over the years were relegated to a pin outside.
As a young married couple, we got Happy. Geez, what the two of us knew about raising a puppy was pathetic. It was cute when Happy was a puppy and he did puppy things. We laughed at his antics. Dog obedience classes? What was that? Happy had little or no discipline.
Without going into the unpleasant details, Happy soon moved in with my mother. She lived alone and Happy was a joy to her. And I have to admit, he seemed to calm down in his behavior, at least somewhat, with her. The years went by and my mother's health declined to the point that she could no longer properly care for Happy. In spite of a great effort to find a good home for him, he had to be taken to the shelter. From that point on, I never knew what happened to him. Did he find a loving home?
Then John and Michael came into the picture. "Okay," I said to Don. "We have to do better with these two kids!" And we did. Over the years, we often said that Happy taught us how to raise children. You can't let a baby or toddler get away with something that is cute and then later on punish the child for the same thing just because he is older and should know better.
Looking at this picture and thinking of how unfair we were in raising Happy, I am also pleased that I have had great success with the Labs in my life, going all the way back to 1985. Morgan is my fourth Lab and next summer, I plan to bring home another Lab puppy.
Happy, I hope you found a good home for the rest of your days.