Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Open Heart, Open Mind

Lesson Number 17: A Faint Heart Never a True Love Knows

I soon found that although Bijoux can never be replaced, I longed to have another dog in the house. Jim said that he always expected that I would have a change in heart: I’m too much of a “dog person”. The idea of bringing another dog into our family didn’t thrill him, and until we discussed it more I definitely didn’t want to say anything to the kids. Jim reminded me that he hadn’t been very excited about bringing Bijoux home, but he loved her after we took the plunge. After much discussion, Jim told me that my desire to get another dog was much greater than his desire not to get one, and he was sure that, as it was with Bijoux, he would enjoy a new dog as well. There just had to be some rules:

• No sleeping in our bed
• No jumping on the furniture
• No people food
• No getting a new dog until my book about Bijoux was complete

Of course, more rules could be negotiated as time went on. I was so happy that Jim was willing to go forward with this. The kids had been telling me that they missed Bijoux and wanted to get another dog. Jason even asked for a bird. I reminded them that Bijoux couldn’t be replaced, and that we would get another dog someday, but I had a book to finish, first. Jim and I wanted to give us all enough time and space from April 5, 2003 to be able to enjoy a new puppy, and now—over one year later—I am very glad that we did it this way.

As I did with Bijoux, I came up with a name for our new, soon-to-be-coming-home puppy without having seen her first. Her name will be Roxie. Of course, there is a story behind her name. About one month after Bijoux’s death, I took Dylan and several other fifth graders to the Humane Society. The fifth graders collected needed supplies for the HS as a community service project. Our group delivered the donations, and I asked the woman who worked there if we could have a tour. She obliged, and took us right over to the “cat room”. Not being a “cat person”, I wasn’t thrilled. I asked about dogs, and she said, “Sure, I’ll show you where the dogs are, but we only have one that’s available right now.” We followed her into the room across the hall and took a look at Jake, an adorable black mutt. As the kids were talking to Jake (and Dylan was commanding him to “Sit!”), I ventured to the other end of the room, where there was, indeed, another dog. I didn’t recognize the type of dog, but she was so sweet. I looked at the tag on her cage, and was pleasantly surprised. Her name was “Roxie”, and she was a Beagle/German Shepherd mix. (I took this as another sign from Bijoux, by the way!) I thought Roxie would be a perfect name for a new puppy: I liked that both Roxie and Bijoux had an “X”, and this sign at the Humane Society came in to me loud and clear.

I told Jim about my experience, and he humored me. Sitting around the dinner table some months later, I was telling the kids how we would name our new dog Roxie. Dylan lobbied to get the name changed to “Jakeina”, because he was stuck on little Jake at the Humane Society, but I told him no. Out of the blue, Jim said, “I know what her middle name should be: Susie.” I was so touched by this that my eyes started to tear up.

And so we switched gears and got mentally ready for Roxie Susie Wells. I am ready to take the leap. Open heart, open arms, welcoming a new relationship. It’s the biggest lesson that I truly learned from Bijoux, the Original Princess Dog.