Expanse of Time


Alfie and Waffles

The first pug I ever met was my brother Paul's dog Buffy. Although she was his dog in name she became mine in heart, and I took to her from the moment she walked in the doors and jumped in my lap. She led me two-and-a-half years later to adopt my own pug, Vader. For 12 golden years we shared a life together -- the three of us amidst the rest of my family and all the friends who've come and gone -- it seemed a long untouched perfect time, the way you look back at your childhood and remember an endless, happy expanse, even if it wasn't always. Then Buffy died and time sped up like fast-forward on a DVD player. I went in search of a new puppy and found a wonderful clown of a girl, New Year's Hope Sadie's Miracle, a.k.a. Mira.
She was my "juvenile delinquent," always in trouble. Once she actually stole my earrings right out of my ears and I hardly noticed. She was a Labrador Retriever of a pug, meaning she gave up many of her pug-like ways in favor of being a big floppy, love bug of a dog. My mother says she was "flopsy, mopsy, and cottontail all rolled into one." She was bigger and leggier than most pugs and had a big-dog personality. Even my non-pug loving, non-dog loving friends liked her, dropping to the floor to let her play in their laps. She lived to be only a year-and-a-half old before dying from a reaction to her distemper shot. Her breeder felt so sorry for me, although it was no fault of hers, that she promised me a new pug and after a long series of events, she eventually came through with my Alfie.

It was scary opening my heart up to another pug after first losing Buffy and Mira so quickly on her heels. Now two years later Vader passed away at 14 and I have decided to add Waffles to my clan.
It is also a scary decision. For so long it seemed like it was just Buffy, Vader and me -- my shadow and my Little Man. Buffy worshipped me, Vader was the Man and I moved forward as if they were always going to be there. Mira offered new hope, Alfie a second chance at that and soon t here will be Waffles.

I almost adopted her two years ago right after I brought Alfie home, but with a new puppy already in hand an older dog getting older, it didn't seem the right time to add another to the mix. As time passed, I thought of her more and more as my friend Joan's dog. I expected when Vader died to add another male pug to the family.

Then shortly after Vader died, Alfie and I went to visit Joan and out darted Waffles straight into the open door of my car. She climbed up in Alfie's car seat and looked out the window as if to say, "Okay, when are we going?" I had to laugh and from that time on I began to open my heart to her again.

But I have to admit I've still been scared. Alfie has become my constant companion, sticking even closer to me perhaps than Buffy, my former "glue" dog ever had. I worry will Waffi upset this? Will I have room in my heart for two of them? I've always taken in my dogs as puppies. What will it be like to take home this grown up girl?

I'm not sure what's really at the heart of all my worries. Perhaps part of it has to do with the fact that I do not live in a house alone and every decision I make to get a dog must take into account how it will affect others or at the very least their reactions to it. Perhaps it is because Joan has become attached to Waffi and is hesitant to give her up. Maybe I don't want to get my hopes up until I am sure she will be mine.

I think most of it, however, may have to do with the fact that I have learned, as every dog lover must, that there is no endless, happy expanse of time with these creatures and that once you do embrace them, no matter what, the time will be too short.