I was worried about announcing her arrival on the blog or even on facebook, for fear that someone would judge us for adopting a new puppy so soon after the painful loss of our beloved chihuahua, Rusty. But who can fairly judge someone's heartache and pain? I suppose I even felt a little guilty loving this little girl so easily, when there is still that ache left from loss. But she is a perfect fit for our family.
Jason and I talked about waiting to adopt a dog - we thought time might heal a broken heart. Jason is due back home in late-July and that is when we anticipated beginning a search for a dog in earnest. But when we reviewed the requirement for dogs to enter into Egypt, we realized there wouldn't be enough time to get the shots needed to travel with a pup to Cairo in September. We decided we wanted a puppy, even given the time constraints, so we began a puppy search early last week.
I found a litter of toy fox terriers listed in Akron - about 40 minutes from our home in Ohio. The owner sent photos and I forwarded them to Jason. Jason actually did the legwork of researching the breed - small enough to travel foreign service style (in-cabin carry-on!), great with kids, not too small (she'll get to be about 6-8 lbs). When I saw the puppies, I was overwhelmed! But Jason, despite being 11,000 miles or whatever the obscene distance it is to Baghdad was ready at his phone and computer. I took pics of the pups and sent them to him. I watched their behavior and interactions.
One stood out among all the rest. This sweet little girl kept jumping up and climbing on top of the litter to get out of their pack-in-play. She'd follow me around outside and was observant of everything around her. I snapped lots of photos and gave Jason a play-by-play of her actions. Yes, folks; you can indeed pick out a family together pet despite distance. Jason and I decided on her. The name "Starbuck" fit her perfectly. Jason and I have such fond memories of meeting up at Starbucks over the past few years. And since I love to keep a photo blog and keep a record of my Starbuck's lattes' journeys, well, it just fit.
We've now had her for nearly a week. She's learning to potty-train litter-box style (Jason read about this and recommended it since we'll be limited on green space in Cairo); has successfully learned how to avoid our ancient cranky cat; and equally plays and chases all the kids. Even Kellen adores her and she adores him. Actually, I'd say she adores Kellen the most (but don't tell our other kids). At night she snuggles up with Owen for a few hours while I finish up the house stuff after the kiddos have gone to bed. Then she has a little snack, takes a potty break and climbs into bed with me for the night. She helps me with the late-night loneliness when the kids are sleeping and I'm trying to unwind my head and get to sleep. I'm overpowered by her fuzziness. I have to pet and love her. She nuzzles up under my chin or just behind my head. Such a little lovebug. In fact, as I sit her writing this she is snuggled up on my lab taking a much-needed puppy nap (after spending a hour attacking my feet and toes).
My only true regret is that Jason is not here to enjoy her. Sure, he'll be home in 5 weeks and will love her, I just know it. But it would be so much better if he were her right at this moment to marvel in her amazing puppiness with me. To see how happy she makes all of our kids. But no matter how I look at it, she IS the right pet for us, even though she arrived here weeks earlier than we had anticipated adding a new pet to our family.
And so I hope people won't judge and think we didn't love Rusty enough or care enough to wait whatever their acceptable time limit is before getting a new dog. Because we loved him so much. And our loss still hurts; our new puppy doesn't change that. But this puppy is a bittersweet new beginning as we prepare for our travel and new life abroad. I hope she'll be as happy and feel as loved as Rusty did with us.