The Children of the Second Marriage

Sometimes I say that our Bernese Mountain Dogs, Molly and Sam, are the children of the second marriage. I worry about what sort of day they are having, or what sort of lives they are having, much as I did about my human children when they were small.

Having a dog is not unlike having a permanent toddler.

I had no idea it would be like this, because I never had a dog before Molly, who turned 4 a few weeks ago.

Of course, I had no idea what it would be like to have human children, either. Nothing anyone could tell me, no book I could read, could prepare me for the absolute love and terror combined in being a new mother. I felt this way about Molly, too. #2 Son and I went to pick her up, and as soon as we got her into the car, she began to cry. It was heart-wrenching. We loved her from that moment, and before we got home, all three of us were crying.

Molly went everywhere with me during her early puppyhood, met lots of people, won treats from the local baristas and won the hearts of everyone who met her. We went through a long, hard winter after her hip surgery at 9 months and elbow surgery a few months later. She came out of this time of hardship determined to have fun! And gather admirers! To ENJOY LIFE!!!

Molly passed the AKC Canine Good Citizen test in 2004 and went on to get certification from Therapy Dogs, Inc.

I love her in a way I could never have imagined loving a dog. She turned 4 a few weeks ago, which means she has already lived more than half the average lifespan of a Bernese. “She’s going to break your heart someday,” Pure Luck once said, and I know he’s right.

When Sam joined the family the following year, he had a similar effect on Pure Luck. They bonded like Super Glue. Sam is less outgoing than Molly, perhaps because he spent his early months walking in the woods with “Papa Bear” and Molly, and not going to the schools, the coffee shop, and so forth. Or it may just be his nature. He likes to know what his job is: watch the door, keep an eye on Molly, count up the family to be sure we are all here. He doesn’t like: automatic sliding doors, metallic noises, men wearing parkas with fake fur around the hood.

We’ve worked hard with Sam to boost his confidence in situations that are unfamiliar (or not the woods!). Today it all paid off when he passed the Canine Good Citizen Test. Yay, Sam!!! As we often say, he’s a good boy.

14 thoughts on “The Children of the Second Marriage”

  1. Congratulations to Sam! Your dogs are gorgeous.
    I’m on the same hierarchy level as the therapy dogs at the hospital my lab is associated with 🙂 I just wish I got to play with them.

  2. Dear Sam,
    This good citizen thing sounds intriguing. Does it mean I can no longer whine at Mr. Mister when he is playing with that lighted box on his desk, or pretend to fight with my Heffalump to get his attention, or nip at that Tall One when she accidentally clamps down on my paw, or cry when the humans shut me up in the room with the big noisy white boxes while the cleaning lady is here?
    If so, you can keep it! I don’t want it.
    Tanner the WonderMutt

  3. lucy, next time I come to the Big City with Molly along for the ride, we must have a blogger meet-up. She would love to play with you.

  4. Dear Tanner,
    It just means I was nice to people while they petted me, said hello to my mom, walked around in a crowd, met another dog and stayed with a friendly lady for a few minutes while my mom hid behind something. (I knew she was still there. I could smell her.)
    Oh, I also needed to know how to sit, lie down, stay for ten seconds or so, and walk on the leash.
    After the test I got a HUGE cookie!!
    You can do it, Tanner. I know you can.
    Your friend,

  5. Funny how our furry friends steal our hearts isn’t it…we have a rescue cat called Moses cos we founf him in a basket..He is so loving and fun I don’t know what we’d do without him. When Chris came home from hospital in the winter Moses sensed when he was down and snuggled up to him for a cuddle Chris soon felt better…pets are real therapy!!!

  6. I think dogs are exactly like toddlers. That’s why I’m always encouraging my friends who want kids to get a dog first (not a cat–cats are fine, but they don’t need you the way dogs, and kids, do).

  7. The low grade fever is still with me, but I feel better despite that for some reason.
    The sermon is half-written, and that may be as far as it gets.
    Sally, what a great cat story!
    And APL, that’s good as long as they don’t discard the dog when they get the baby. That happens far too often, unfortunately.

  8. Congratulations, Sam! We have brother and sister Golden Retriever mixes who also have different personalities. I’m afraid neither of them would pass a good canine citizen test, but Rose is outgoing and friendly, while Freud is neurotic and scared (no, he isn’t named for Sigmund; “Freud” is the German word for “joy”, which he has as long as Rose is right beside him).
    Dogs really do become family members. I couldn’t imagine our family without our puppies.

  9. Hurray for Sam!
    I feel the same way Songbird. I never ever ever could have imagined that I’d love a dog this much. It tears my heart apart sometimes. I know someday it will break my heart too, I just hope it take a long long long time.

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