I have major Mom guilt right now, and in just a minute, I’ll tell you why.
It should be noted before I begin that I have no clue when Ivan’s real birthday is – for all I know, we could have missed it a week ago. But on February 15th, 2006, I rescued an 8 week old abandoned puppy, found on the side of the road in rural Buffalo. Thanks to Save-A-Pet of Niagara County, I adopted the best friend I have ever had.
I counted back and decided that December 15th would do for a birthday, and we have been blowing out celebratory doggies cakes on that day ever since.
Here is what you should know about Ivan – he was a TERRIBLE puppy. He made my life miserable, and I contemplated on many occasions admitting my failure and giving him back. He hated me as much as I hated him (you can read about his whole story here) but within a week or so, we were attached at the hip, and have yet to be parted.
However, there is no birthday post for Ivan last year, and though I wish there was a good reason, I think it boiled down to life just got difficult and hectic at the holidays. But the reason I have an overwhelming amount of guilt, is that for 3 years, Miah demanded constant attention due to her illness. I carried Miah on our walks, leaving Ivan to bond with Scott as we walked. In the morning, I would wheelbarrow Miah out the door to tend to her needs, and Scott would let out Ivan. In the evening, I would try to get both dogs to cuddle with me, but Ivan wanted space and didn’t want to share me with Miah. So he would head to the floor, or to Scott, and let me soak up the last precious years/months/days/hours that I got with my girl.
Ok and now I’m crying.
(there is nothing like the unconditional love of a dog that can get a little reminiscing out of emotional control…)
And more Mom guilt because this post is about Ivan. Back to that.
With Ivan as healthy as he is, I clung to the fleeting time I had with Miah, and as that happened, I feared that the bond I would have with my first dog would somehow dwindle, and we’d never be able to get back what we had after we lost Miah. I felt like I didn’t know Ivan like I always had, and even though I felt closer to him throughout his life, the time with Miah was difficult to juggle.
I am happy to report, however, that mere weeks after Miah left us, Ivan and I became as tight as we had ever been. The year and a half since, we have seldom been apart. Thankfully, the bond that Scott formed with Ivan has remained as strong as well, and we are absolutely a package deal. The three of us are as thick as thieves, and can’t imagine it any other way. We beg him to sleep on the bed with us every night, even though our 100 lb handsome mutt loves his space and his dog bed even more. Every night, we drive to Medina and go on a walk together just like we did every night in Virginia.
Even though he has the farm to run and play, we take him everywhere we go. Bills games at my Dad’s house, dinners at Scott’s parents – it doesn’t matter, Ivan gets to go.
11 years old is getting up there for a big dog like our guy, but I learned my lesson with Miah that we can’t control disease or illness, accidents or fate. The time we have is precious no matter how old we are, and we should treat it accordingly. I kiss Ivan a million times a day and I wrap myself around him and listen to the rise and fall of his chest as he sleeps. He gets treats upon treats, and I’m convinced is everyone’s favorite boy.
Happy Birthday you handsome boy!!