Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Our furbaby, Jonah

Last night I happened upon Marley and Me (the movie about this crazy dog and his family), and it, plus the snoring of our dog Jonah, made me think about the role Jonah has played in our family. I think a lot of people know the term "furbabies", you know, your animal(s) are like your kids. Well, at least for me, this was so the case with Jonah.

Jonah came into our lives about 2 months after we were married. He was actually born a week before we were married, which, honestly (especially these days), is the only reason I know exactly how old he is. And, btw, that means he will be 11 next week. Anywho, Jonah came as a result of my begging hubby for a dog, because I knew I'd be wanting a baby soon, and a dog seemed like a good way to ease us both into it. And, for hubby, the dog was a good way to put me off the whole baby thing for a couple of years. Jonah came from the local humane society and is a mutt through and through. While Jonah is a super fantastic dog now, as a puppy he was challenging. He first refused to sleep at night without me laying on the floor next to his crate. And then he refused to be house trained for a long time. And then there was the running off whenever he was not on a leash. And then the refusing to walk if you were holding  the leash. And then in order to take a walk, you had to not hold the leash, and have someone walk in front of him, because for some reason he liked to follow feet. He was exhausting and  I still think was harder to potty train than the kid.

But Jonah now is awesome, which happened around the 2-3 year mark. Which was good timing, because that's about when we started trying to get pregnant (hum, just realized there might be a correlation between those two things, lol). And, a couple of years later, when we realized that things were simply not going as planned, he was still there. Jonah seemed to know when I was feeling down and when I needed a soft head to pat, or just let me cry on. While he was probably just happy to get the attention, I like to think that he knew I needed him and was there for me. I remember the moment when I knew I couldn't continue the infertility treatments. I was laying on the couch sobbing, and Jonah was there, sitting right beside me. Really, he didn't leave my side much during that time. I am convinced that he just knew.

When the kid finally came along, Jonah, who had become accustomed to being the center of our world - our furbaby - got knocked down a notch or two in the familial hierarchy. He was depressed for nearly a year, sleeping in his room and rarely coming out. Not that I realized it at the time, being so busy adjusting to life with a baby, but looking back on it I know it was huge change for him, and one he took in stride after that initial adjustment. He tolerated the kid for a couple of years, and in the last year or so the relationship between the two of them has blossomed and they're the best of friends. Jonah decided he loved the kid (who had long loved Jonah) because the kid could finally play with him. Fortunately for all of us, the kid and Jonah started to entertain each other.

As I was watching Marley last night, I got to the part where he's gotten really old and is going to die and I had to turn it off. You see, I started thinking about Jonah. The poor dog is so very neglected now. And, fabulous dog that he is, he doesn't blame us for it and continues to be the gentle, loving, patient creature that he is. When baby E came along, poor Jonah fell another several notches. He rarely gets walks or attention anymore, though the kid does still love on and play with him quite a bit. But, he's accepted it - and us - as we are. He follows me around a lot, but doesn't demand anything. It's just like he wants to be near me, and that that is enough for him.

I'm ashamed to admit that several times I've though that if we didn't have him things would be easier (vacations, camping - he takes up a lot of room in the car). But I realized last night how devastating it will be when he's gone. And, really, that will probably be sooner rather than later. He's covered in tumors (non-cancerous), and his hips are bad. He's tired and inactive most days. He's old. But he really was my first baby. He was there when all I needed was something to love and take care of and when no one other than hubby knew what we were going through or the pain I was experiencing. And of course it's not the same as the boys. But I love him and he is such a loyal and loving part of our family.

Here's Jonah with the kid, a little over 3 years ago. He *may* be a bit heavier now...

So even though you can't read, thank you, Jonah, for being so awesome. I promise I'll take you for a walk tonight. If it doesn't rain, you know, since neither of us like to go out in the rain and all.

Today's lesson - just because you know all the tools to get your kid to behave, does not mean you will use them. You will sometimes use them. You sometimes will lose it and yell. You're normal.


Aramelle @ One Wheeler's World said...

Hi there :)
I found your blog through Prompt-ly and wanted to stop over to read your post. This is a really beautiful tribute to your furbaby.

Esperanza said...

Hello! I'm here from Prompt-ly too! What a great post. Our furbabies really are amazing, aren't they? I don't have a dog now but I really wish I did. We live in an apartment and can't have one. We do have a cat and while I love her, she doesn't really love me and she is not a dog, if you know what I mean. My family had a dog for 16 years and I still cry every time I think of him. He was very much a part of our family and being their when they put him down was very, very hard. I'm glad you have been blessed with such a great dog. You are both very lucky to have each other, even if he doesn't get the walks he used to. He's also getting older, he probably doesn't mind as much as you may think.

Poochies are the best. Just the best!

Camilleta said...

My furbaby is turning 11 too. Sweet post. =)

Myra said...

aawwww Becky! Love this post! Crazy as it is with 5 kids...we have 3 dogs and our furbabies are BIG in our family..especially my Cavalier Nelly...she's just a baby now, but I know the long term relationship you are talking about with Jonah...someone told me once there are three true loves in your life...Your Husband, Your kids and Your Dog!