Well, we finally did it. After (only) a couple of years of thinking about it, we got another dog! Meet Luka, our beautiful Australian Shepherd x border collie puppy. She is 12 weeks old today and has turned our house and lives upside down… in a mostly good way. She loves belly rubs, going to the beach, scampering away with one of your shoes when you’re in a rush to get out the door and falling asleep in the most encumbering spot on the kitchen floor she can think of.
Something I have discovered is that getting a pet rouses the same sort of opinions in some people that having children does. When you are considering a puppy people will tell you their frank thoughts: that you are insane, your timing is off, you won’t be able to travel (well…) your age gap is too small/too big, your breed choice is terrible, one is enough, two is enough, two is too many, three is perfect, etc etc. I am an overthinker as it is – sometimes hearing other opinions just makes my own more anxious.
There were also my own thoughts to wade through. Parents with older kids will laugh at my naivete here; but I was clinging onto the idea that life might ‘get a bit more simple’ with Miss Nerd about to start kindergarten at the end of a very long summer. While the start of school for your youngest child can feel bittersweet, and I totally get that; we had also all looked forward to Miss Nerd’s first day of kindergarten for a long time, she included. COVID had put a limit on the amount of daycare we could access; it was expensive, not enough for my workload and we had been on a waitlist for more daycare for more than a year. I hoped kindy would help. But when we decided to get a dog, we were almost at the very end of what had been one of Perth’s hottest summers on record. Summer holidays in Perth can feel arduous and long; many parents await its end with longing; and I am no exception!
So we’d just emerged from a brain-sapping, torturously hot summer, we were looking forward to the kids starting school, I was looking forward to getting stuck back into a lot more work; who on earth introduces a puppy into the mix right as things are meant to slow down? I was conflicted. I unloaded to a few people – including a few internet friends! Isn’t it funny – and lovely – that sometimes the people you think you would get along the best with in real life, you have never actually met in person. You just chat with them over the internet. You feel like you know them but you have never shaken their hand.
A kind-hearted Instagram friend and fellow dog person in Brisbane, known to her followers as The Kmart Forecast, completely understood my worries about getting another puppy when Nala was my ‘soul dog’. She told me something very kind and truthful that turned out to be spot on: that just because I’d already been lucky to have a one in a million dog in my life, didn’t mean that I couldn’t love another dog dearly, and worrying about Nala’s feelings to a puppy situation meant we had her first and foremost in our minds.
And it was a fellow blogger friend all the way in Canada, Val of Zen Shmen blog (and another dog person) who also helped me make up my mind. She sent me a really lovely email when I told her about a less-than-kind comment I had received; and part of her lovely message included this: “The favourite thing I learned through all the uncertainty and upheaval of the pandy is, when it comes to big decisions, choose the bigger life. You will never regret it.”
Well, we definitely chose the bigger life option here.