What’s a Mom to Do – odles?

Oh the whining…the heart-piercing whining. When it woke me up for the third time—this time at 3:34am—I could do little more than roll over and moan, “What the #@!% have we done?”

It was the same feeling that washed over me when I first became a mom. After being tortured night after night with sleep deprivation, I wondered if we’d made a huge mistake. “Can we return to sender?” I’d joke with my husband.

BUT, just like when our daughter was an infant, the only thing this whining little bundle of love had to do was look at me with his big green eyes and I instantly turned to mommy goo.

“All right, boy, I’ll take you out AGAIN,” I said as I patted his head and tried to wrangle a smidgeon of humor as playfulness consumed him in the middle of the night, his puppy teeth needling my toes and pj’s on the way to the door.

What’s a mom to do, I laughed to myself.

Some might wonder why on earth we’d add the complexity–and sleep deprivation–of a puppy to our already-full lives. The answer is simple. For one reason, and one reason only: our daughter.

Just like my mom and dad let us adopt a dog when I was a young girl and Jeffrey’s parents did the same, we’ve given Olivia the gift of a slathering, furry, bundle of unconditional love so she can grow up knowing the joys and responsibility of caring for another living being.

Labradoodle puppy "Doodles"Yep, it’s official: Doodles is now  a member of the Aaronson Family. And yes, this little furball of a Labradoodle is rocking our world.

As you might have guessed, we let Olivia name him, just like our parents let us name our dogs. Jeffrey crowned his Weimeraner with the name Harold when he was a kid, and I gave our brown mop of a poodle-ish pound mutt the name Brownie. Actually, it was far more sophisticated than that—Brownie Blue Green.

Every time I look at Doodles I think of Brownie Blue Green, and even more so my mom. No, not because my mom looked like Doodles, but because Doodles reminds me of all the things she sacrificed for me.

Let me take you back to when I was eight years old. With four kids, nothing was ever simple or calm around our house. Dad spent most waking hours trying to figure out how to make ends meet while Mom spent every minute of her day running our household, a job far more taxing than anything my dad ever did. From tackling mounds of laundry for three boys and a tomboy to grocery shopping, making school lunches, and mediating sibling disputes, she was at the center of it all. When she wasn’t applying band-aids or taking us to the ER, she was making dinner, sewing clothes for me or re-painting my room another shade of pink. I’m sure most nights she fell into bed exhausted. The fact that she would even consider adding a dog to this mix speaks volumes.

The only possible reason could have been her love for us kids.

Photo of my family when I was an infantPhoto of Green Family circa 1973

When Doodles is demanding my attention at three in the morning and causing me to bumble through the next day in sleepwalking mode and pull me away from my writing, or when he’s chewing on my hand for the eight hundredth time in a single day, or wreaking puppy havoc on our garden, I’m going to take a deep breath and remember my mom.

I’m going to remember how her love and patience gave me the gift of Brownie Blue Green.

Brownie Blue Green at the beachBrownie was a rescue dog who came with issues, but my eight-year old eyes saw nothing but sweet perfection. I adored everything about him, down to his stinky breath and matted hair. Every night he’d sleep on the end of my bed, often tracking muddy paw prints all over the delicate pink and white comforter my mom spent hours making. No doubt it drove her mad, but she never said a word, knowing I loved that dog more than I’d ever love a bedspread.

Even though Brownie tried to attack my dad every time he wore a gray suit (did I mention issues?), he was a lovable pooch. At bath time he’d always plop his scrappy-doo body next to the tub and keep me company while I washed away the day’s fun. And when it was time to practice my oboe, he’d sit patiently, his ears rising in pain as my squeaky music filled the room. Brownie Blue Green was the ultimate party animal, too. Be it slumber parties, dance parties or pool parties, somehow he always tolerated being dragged into the middle of the action.

Photo of dog, Brownie Blue GreenBrownie Blue Green slumber party

I’m sure Brownie was a handful, but several decades later I have the selective amnesia of an eight-year old. I don’t even remember having to take care of him; somehow he was magically fed and bathed and his poop was scooped. My guess is that Mom was the one who pulled yeoman’s duty taking care of this rascal. For that I’m grateful because Brownie Blue Green gave me a treasure trove of childhood memories.

Now as I celebrate my mom–and her patience, love and strength (and hopefully draw upon it)–I know it’s my turn to pass this gift on to Olivia. No doubt Mom would agree, even if life was significantly less complicated before Doodles. She’d probably even tell me to let Doodles sleep on Olivia’s bed and leave muddy paw prints. After all, what’s a mom to
Do-odles anyway?

Photo of Olivia and DoodlesLabradoodle pupy "Doodles"

Did you have a dog when you were a kid? If so, how did he or she impact your life?

31 thoughts on “What’s a Mom to Do – odles?

  1. Doodles is irresitibly cute. Adorable! Your parents are amazing. Your mom is someone to look up too. Her love and dedication to her children are admirable. She reminded me of my mom who raised 6 kids with patience and lots of love. I have a wonderful childhood because of her and my dad. God bless our parents always!!!

    • Thank you. And, yes to celebrating and honoring our parents. There is no tougher job. Thanks for swinging by my blog to leave your kind comment.

  2. Congratulations on the new Doodle! Hours of fun, love and trials and tribulations. Nothing is better; at least in my life. Growing up we had a few dogs – for not long periods of time. My mother, I think, didn’t want anything else to take care of. My first dog, Kachina, I got right before I moved out of my parent’s house at 18 or so. She was amazing. She truly re-parented me and kept my alive through my twenties, which were quite rocky. And of course, I haven’t been without a dog in my life since. Komet is still going strong (well, as strong as a 100+ year old can be) at almost 16. Still chasing her frisbee….how amazing is that? So many years of love and entertainment to you with Doodles. How lucky she is!

    • Thanks, Chris! Doodles is a hoot (and a handful of puppy sweetness). As soon as we get past the chewing phase I think he’s going to be nothing but a big mellow mop of love.

      I remember when Komet was a wee little bundle of fur and needle teeth. It’s nearly impossible to believe she’s almost 16…and still chasing frisbees! Go girl!

  3. I had a dog when I was a kid, and I think I had him for about two weeks. His name was Flash. Problem was, we’d never had a dog before and no one knew what to do to potty train him or anything. I was crestfallen when we had to give him back. Alas, it wasn’t meant to be.

    • But now you have Henry!

      Like parenting, I think dog-owning is much different now than when we were kids. We read, Google, analyze, and watch YouTube videos to learn what to do. Our parents just brought a dog home and hoped for the best (and often got the worst or couldn’t handle the craziness and returned them). I’m thankful we’ve had Doodles for three weeks now and he hasn’t had one accident in the house. We have lots of other challenges to figure out, but at least this one doesn’t seem to be an issue.

  4. Oh, the joys of a pet! My dog was Candy — my best friend’s dog’s puppy who was my first love. Candy was a colorful dog, without a doubt! When she got bit by a stray dog on vacation, I rescued her and got bit as well, requiring me to have 7 painful abdominal rabies shots. And Candy always got more ice cream than the rest of us — each of us (my sis, mom, dad and I) would give her a quarter of our cones, so you do the math :-) There is no more precious gift to a child than another living thing. My kids love our little dog Blossom more than life itself, and maybe more than me!

    • Wow. Rabies shots? Ouch. I will never think of candy in the same way now. I’ll always think of your dog Candy, and all you went through for her. I’m sure Olivia will be loving Doodles more than me soon too–at least when his puppy teeth stop nibbling on her. Thanks for sharing your fun memories!

  5. Yes , Mom would most definately have let Doodles sleep on her bed . And you are the best . I love every thing you write . This one really tore me up . I love you , Tim

    • Lucky us to have had a mom who found joy in the fun, messy vitality of life. This tore you up because your heart is as big as her’s was. Love to you as well, dear brother.

  6. I love the photos, Becky! I love dogs, and was more of a dog person when I was growing up. I am now more of a cat person.

    My first dog was a little mutt that I named Sissy. Her mom was our dog Buffy. You’re probably too young to remember they were the names of the two daughters on the TV show “Family Affair.” My mother wouldn’t let us bring our dogs inside, but I always wanted to.

    Many years later, I got really attached to my mother’s Westie, Sparky. Such a sweet, smart, stubborn dog!

    I want a dog now, but our lifestyle is not conducive to it right now.

    Thanks for a lovely post.

    • Buffy and Sissy!!! OMG, I haven’t thought of “Family Affair” in ages. I barely even remember it, but those names are permanently etched somewhere on some random cell in my brain. Funny.

      I’m not sure our lifestyle is conducive to a dog either, but we decided we’d figure it out. Wish us luck! :-)

  7. What a lovely story! Animals (especially dogs) certainly do have the ability to bring friends and families together! I loved the photographs of you when you were young–that one of you on the beach with Brownie–at first I thought it was Olivia!
    How lucky Olivia is to have you for her mommy–just like you had yours. Beautiful and touching post.

    • The big difference between Olivia and I in that picture is that I was a total tomboy and she is nothing but girl. You wouldn’t catch her dead in that outfit. I looks like I robbed my brother’s dresser on that day.

      I must say Brownie Blue Green is a legend in our family–from chasing our blue Ford station wagon all the way to the grocery store, to unlocking our back patio door to his “love affair” with my dad’s gray suits–he was a character. AND he was my rock and greatest source of comfort when my family fell about several years later (but that’s a whole other story). :-)

  8. And one more comment…your Mom loved dogs! She “let” you have a dog as much for herself as for you! Do you remember the collies? They were beautiful. Maybe you were a bit young for them to be a strong memory for you. So glad you have Brownie in your memories.

    • Claudia, that’s funny you should mention the collies. When I was looking through old pictures for Brownie Blue Green, I came across a picture of me holding a collie pup. I’d completely forgotten about them. I was really young and have very little memory of them at all. What I do remember vividly though, is Theodore Ling Bing at your house. Teddy was such a little icon. Funny. And yes, we are in for fun with this big boy. He is labradoodle (lab and poodle) crossed with a standard poodle and he’s expected to be big. You might not be able to tell how big his paws are in this picture, but I think we’ll be buying stock in the chow department. All fun stuff. We can’t wait to take him to the beach once he has had all his shots so he can run and get in the water. He’s only 10 weeks old right now so we have a while longer to wait.

      • I know about Labradoodles. But your guy looks just like Angus did at that age, except Angus has very deep brown eyes. It will be interesting to see if Doodles has the lab personality or a poodle personality or a mix.

        Yeah waiting to socialize is tough but important. So is the socializing part. And yes I did notice how big his paws are! Using puppy pens to contain is a good thing when you can’t be right there. Angus still respects a fence he can practically step over now but couldn’t when he was a baby. We used it with him until he was a little over a year old. Saved the house and yard when we weren’t there to supervise. He is quite the couch tater now and the only naughty habit he still pursues occasionally is eating a used tissue that gets left in his reach before making its way to the trash.

        We also had a few times when he stole food (sushi and a turkey sandwich) off the counter or table. I hadn’t even thought to work with training him on “leaving” things on the counters or tables as I had never had a dog tall enough to reach those areas before. He knows better now and hasn’t taken anything (loves to put the nose at the edge of the counter and sniff) for years, but I have no doubt that left alone long enough he wouldn’t be able to resist!

        Teddy was a great dog…I think of him often. My two small mixed breeds of long ago, Daisy and PD reminded me of Teddy. They were the best pooches ever. Still miss them.

      • We keep working on the socializing part. We took Doodles for his first coffee outing today. Well, he didn’t exactly drink coffee, but hung out with us and got lots of attention while we did. Later today he’s going to school for show and tell. Oh boy, that’s going to be an adventure!

  9. Of course I loved this one Becky! I remember Brownie (but not the Blue Green part-adorable). And the pictures are wonderful to see…the good old days. I bet Chris is in that group shot?

    Mr. Doodles looks just like our Angus when he was a poodle pup. Brings back great memories. What fun. Angus is 5 now and at 65 pounds he is a lithe, amazing acrobat to watch in action, somersaults and all. Along with our mini schnauzer Sofie we are constantly entertained. Like us, I hope you have a good groomer! And yes, you have just added another child to your household for a couple years. It won’t be too long though before you have an amazing adult (but still kid at heart) to share life with.

    I was more of a cat person as a kid although there were lots of dogs around with my 5 siblings. One that stands out is Buck. He followed Mike home one day, yeah right. He was an adorable husky type mix. He brought with him ring worms and diarrhea all over the upstairs.

    I sure have made up for it as an adult though. having been the proud owner of 10 dogs over the years, as many as 4 dogs and 2 cats at a time. Can’t imagine life without each one of their souls impact on us. Sometimes I can feel all of them following me around during the day, especially in the kitchen, waiting for that carrot bit or any other food item to hit the floor or get thrown their way!

    Olivia is one lucky girl and you all are in for many years of love and devotion.

  10. I’m a sucker for dog stories, photos, etc., even when they’re not intimately related to mothers (if that’s even possible). Doodles is so photogenic! And your memories re: the childhood dog brought back mine (the funniest when I burst into tears thinking I broke her tail). Are you laughing? They really do add so much to our lives (and they are a lot of work) — all the more reason my daughter sends puppy pictures on a very frequent basis, convinced that I need one to replace Maggie. We’ll see . . . .

    • Deborah, I know you are a dog-lover. Perhaps your daughter is right! Maybe you should get a puppy. Although it probably depends if you want to get any work done.

      I’m chuckling over the broken tail scene. Did your dog have a docked tail? It’s funny what we remember.

  11. Congratulations on adding Doodle to the mix!! Our pups are 7 months old now, and I just finished snuggling up to the little love bundles while thinking it’s worth all the work. The first few months with pups are CRAZY!!

    • Thanks, Rhonda! CRAZY is an accurate description. We went to our first puppy class last night, which was a hoot with ten other pups romping around. It made me think that our little bundle of energy is actually pretty mellow. Fun stuff!

  12. OMG! That pic of you and Brownie looks exactly like Olivia and Doodles! You need to recreate the same pose and put them side by side. Absolutely adorable! Emma sends her love to Doodles. ;-)

    • You’re right, I should do an Olivia and Doodles portrait. What’s funny is that we were originally going to get a white doodle, but then we all fell in love with our big brown boy. Perhaps it was meant to be so I could relive my childhood. :-)

  13. Such a lovely piece! I’m reading the third paragraph and thinking, when did Becky have a baby? Dogs are such wonderful gifts for children. When Lily was 2/3, and we would make family trips to the beach, our dog Buddy always stayed between her and the ocean, acting like a sort of sheep dog and herding her away from the water.
    Love Dogs!

    • Thanks, Jenni. It’s more like we have a precocious toddler right now who is rocking, rolling and romping. He’s adorable and fun, but utterly exhausting. All great stuff–especially for Olivia who has wanted a dog for a long time. Buddy sounds like he was one cool dog. Love it.

  14. Oh my gosh, that doggie is the cutest! I miss having a dog, but refuse to have one where they have to stay indoors most of the time. Growing up in Trinidad, the dogs lived outside, and had their run of the yard all day. My kids are desperate for a dog, but I told them that we’d get one if we ever moved someplace that was warm year-round.

    • Thanks, Tracey. Mr. Doodles is a character. And yes, he LOVES his yard and garden (a little too much at the moment). I think you are wise to wait until you have a place for him to romp.

  15. Awww, such a sweet post, Becky! You know from my blog that I have a major case of puppy love at the moment and yes, you are as much a mommy to them as real children. I just now came home from running a brief errand and all the puppies wanted me to love on them and then my big daddy dog’s puppy instinct came out and he easily put himself in between me and the pups so that I would love him too. He’s so sweet and he needs his mommy. I can always tell when they need extra love, just like children. Our big dogs got full names like yours: Buddy Bluenae Brown and Penny Renae Brown. Our pups just get first names and they are not used often since we sell them. Don’t want to confuse them before they go to new homes and get new names.

    I did not ever have a dog growing up and in early adulthood, but had lots of cats, including favorites like Bert & Ernie, Tinkerbell, Lucy, Jane, and Mazie. Each holds a special place in my heart and I even have a tattoo of one I particularly loved. Gonna have to blog about that someday soon. ;0)

    • Cindy, I thought of you when I wrote this post because I know you are in the midst of puppy love/madness/fun too. I can’t even imagine having an entire LITTER, but perhaps it’s slightly different when the mama dog and littermates are entertaining each other?? Whatever the case, I realize I need to lower my expectations about what I will be able to get done for a while in the writing department. Perhaps that’s why puppies were put on this earth–to make us slow down to smell the roses (and puppy breath). Doodles keeps eating our roses so he has especially sweet puppy breath!

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