Belated announcement of a big life development:
I got a puppy in June! He’s pretty terrific and I’m very grateful to whichever of my doctors it was who said, “Do you like dogs? You should get a dog,” when giving me cancer coping suggestions.
His name is Wooster (or also Bertram Wilberforce Wooster, B. W. Wooster, Wooster Booster, Woost, Woosty, Woo-dog, and Woodles) and he has his own version of the “Sister, Sister” song from White Christmas:
There was never such devoted Wooster,
Always has to have a chaperone, yes sir,
He chews on all the furniture.”
Wooster is a Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier, which is a hypoallergenic breed (family dog allergies), and he’s 9.5 months old. I met another Wheatie puppy but she wasn’t the right fit, which maybe sounds like some made up nonsense but it’s not. Then I contacted a bunch of breeders and I only heard back from one who didn’t have a million-year waiting list for a show-quality puppy (Wooster has a small patch of darker fur on his back, instead of a completely even wheaten coat, so he can’t be a show dog. I tell him it’s his lucky spot and that he dodged a bullet). The minute Wooster ran up to me I knew he was the right dog, which sounds like more made up nonsense, but I’ve decided to dive right in and be one of those unashamed pet people who makes their dog a Christmas stocking.
Like I said, he’s a terrific dog and I love him to distraction. Also, I’ve spoken to him very seriously about my expectation that he will find me my one true love just like Pongo in 101 Dalmations. Like Roger, my ideal man is tall, funny, and totally on board for adopting 101 older children otherwise likely to age out of foster care. Also he has to be cool with the whole cancer thing which, you can imagine, is not terribly common. But Wooster is a smart dog and I trust him to pick out the right guy.
I think it’s kind of interesting that the doctor recommended I get a dog because part of this whole cancer thing is that it now takes a ton more work to take care of myself, so to cope with that I’ve taken on a completely dependent li’l puppy who is another ton of work to care for on top of managing the cancer thing. Wooster has a lot of energy and can wear me out. But he’s also cuddly and funny and he’s very extroverted which means that I’ve had to meet a bunch of new friends and talk to strangers on walks and sometimes even in the drive-thru. My family loves him, too, and they’re super supportive and helpful when I’m too sick to walk him.
Like a lot of good things in life, I think if I had known how hard it would be I would have been too scared to drive into the depths of Indiana to pick him up. So it’s a good thing I didn’t know. He’s a lot of work but he’s also generous with his love and he makes me exercise. Plus it’s a little bit nice to be able to take care of someone else for a change. I have so little to offer and I usually need so much help from the people around me that I feel really useless a lot of the time. But I can fill a dog bowl with the best of them, and I can brush out tangles and administer heartworm chews and teach a dog to shake. He makes me less self- focused. Wooster helps keep a little part of my heart open that could easily be shut off because of this stupid cancer and stupider depression.
Wooster is truly a superlative dog, and the answer to a prayer I’ve been praying since I was a small child. After 26 years of having no dogs at all, I have been blessed beyond measure in the dog department. I’ve lost a lot of things because of the cancer. It’s nice to have such a tangible, energetic reminder that I’ve gained things, too. Even in little things, the Lord is at work.
Great is His faithfulness.