I grew up with cats and have never been much of a dog person, but Jeremy talked me getting into an adorable boxer puppy and so began our pre-parenthood training. I had so much fun raising him...until he grew too big for me to control and my responsibilities grew with each little boy that entered into our family. I still liked Freddie, but my perspective changed. I began to only see the bills for dog food, vet care, and heartworm medication. I got tired of picking up poop in the backyard so Jeremy could mow or cleaning it out of my boys shoes. I got tired of cleaning up muddy footprints, slobber on the window, accidents on the floor. He had bad breath, bad gas, and was a burden when we were going to be gone overnight. The common phrase at our house was "Go lay down, Freddie!"
And then on the 11th he had a seizure that took his life. Jeremy and I were right there with him, and frankly did not expect it to happen since he'd had seizures in the past which he recovered from quickly. I became focused on doing what needed to be done and comforting my boys who had never known life without their dog. The next day I created a slideshow for the family with all the pics of Freddie over the years. It was easy because they are all still on the computer :) Seeing scenes from the past 10 years and watching my boys grow up with their dog touched me. We buried him that evening. Something happened to me that next morning as I finally began to feel the loss and realize that even though I had all these complaints, I missed him. The house seems so much more lonely when I'm here by myself. When I open the garage door I still expect to see him stand up, shake, and run out to greet me. I scanned the Classifieds just to see if any boxer pups were for sale. I'm even hesitant about cleaning the last of the slobber marks off the window because it's one of the last remaining traces of him (or maybe I'm just too lazy to clean it and that's a good excuse!)
Freddie may have been a pain to take care of at times, but he was mine. It was a reminder for me to think about all the people/pets/circumstances in our lives that we complain about, and stop to be thankful that we have them at all.