Mother’s Day Was Extra Special

This year for Mother’s Day, one of the things my husband had planned was to visit the dogs at the shelter. The Arizona Animal Welfare League has a storefront located on the upper level of Chandler Fashion Center, and every time we visit that mall we always stop in and see the adoptable pets. This time, they had about 10 different small to medium dogs, but the one we loved most was a brindle-coated lab mix named Espresso.

The AAWL accepts donations of $10 in exchange for 30 minutes of time petting with a dog. Espresso was the sweetest, most docile, cuddly dog I have ever met. In our entire family, including extended family, we’ve only ever owned male dogs, so it was also different to meet and interact with a female dog. I mean yes, we’ve met female dogs just out walking, but it’s different when you’re actually spending some time with the dog like we did.

They sanitized one of the “meeting” rooms, put down a blanket and some toys, and let us and the 3 girls settle into the room while they walked Espresso in. She was slightly shy at first, but not scared, as she kept walking past us and smelling all of us. She took a liking to James the most, who held her in his lap so the girls could pet her. Eva could only call her “Spresso” and Haleigh completely mistook her name as “Pretzel” – which actually would have been the perfect name, if we adopted her, because none of us cares for coffee.

It took a lot of willpower to walk out of the shelter without adopting her immediately. But we both knew we owed it to ourselves and also to Espresso to think through the decision more carefully. Since Sam passed, we have tried to enjoy our dog-free days of being able to easily leave the house and take the girls wherever they need to go. Sam had a lot of anxiety, which was hard to deal with, for me, especially. But we do still want a dog again. We’ve been waiting for Haleigh to grow up a little more so she’s able to better understand how to care for a dog and be gentle to it. After all, she was only 10 months old (barely crawling) when Sam died, and she doesn’t even remember him.

We also considered that we’re leaving for the summer on May 31. That would have meant 2 weeks at our house, trying to house/kennel train a new dog – not to mention giving her a chance to feel comfortable and get to know her new home and family – before abruptly traveling across the country in a van for a 22+ hour drive to a different house where we’d spend almost 2 months of going to the pool, zoo, bowling, Six Flags, etc., and leaving the dog nearly every day. Because of that, as exciting and giddy as I was to rush back and get her (she was perfect!) it would not have been fair to Espresso. A new dog needs plenty of attention, which we’ll be able to offer after we come back from the summer.

About a week after Mother’s Day, James told me he noticed Espresso was no longer up for adoption – someone had adopted her. Of course, we had already made the decision that we needed to wait, but I felt a little bit sad inside like we missed out on a great dog. My next thought was guilt, why should I feel sad, when such a sweet dog is already off to a new home? I only hope when we are ready to adopt, that another amazing and sweet dog will be there waiting for us.