Empty-Nesting is For the Birds…or Dogs!
May 20, 2022

After 25 years of marriage, my husband and I found ourselves in a quite empty nest. Our youngest ventured off to college, and we had no idea what was in store for us! It was interesting trying to find our new niche. How do I make that favorite casserole or dessert for just two people? How many times can left-overs be reheated? Why do I still feel so inadequate as a mom and spouse? Time when we could be all together as a family became precious and valued.

One by one, the kids found their soul-mates and started their own path. We encouraged them to continue pursuing their college degrees, and wait a while to have children. They followed our advice. Instead of babies, they had fur-babies. We are blessed with three bouncing baby grand-dogs! First came Maisy, a tiny Chihuahua-Terrier mix; then Bear, a pure-bread Shih-Tzu; then Agnes, a smart, energetic mix of a Border Collie and Blue Heeler.

Now when everyone comes home, and we add our own Mia, a Shih-Tzu-Miniature Poodle mix to the bunch, things get a little crazy around here! Mia, being the oldest and the alpha female, feels she needs to stand her ground when the little ones start rough-housing on the floor. She eventually gives up and finds a comfortable human to snuggle with. Agnes, who is the youngest, but biggest dog, feels out of place. She tries to join in with the others, but realizes she is too big to play their games and resorts to
playing fetch with the humans. Agnes never tires of playing fetch. It is her love language! She finds a ball and drops it at the feet of anyone who will pay attention to her. She waits patiently, with eyes that seem to say, “Won’t you play with me?” Of course, no one can resist her sweet look and inclusive personality, so she never lacks for a play mate.

We had the honor of dog-sitting Agnes for a week while our youngest and her husband went to Cancun. I forgot how much work it was to take care of a baby, and I soon learned that young dogs are no different. They need food, water, exercise, and love. And, when they are too quiet, it’s time to worry! Agnes and I were playing our usual game of “find-the-ball-and-put-it-on-Grandma’s lap-so-she-canthrow-it-to-me.”

This game had been going on for at least an hour. After a while of playing, Agnes became very quiet. She had chased the ball, but I had no idea where she had taken it. Worried, I got off the couch and began to search. I could hear her whimper. As I walked around the back of the couch, I called her name. From under the couch, I saw her pink tongue and the tip of her nose. She had chased
the ball under there! I couldn’t help but laugh! She was stuck!! She looked so worried, but at the same time it was so dang cute and funny! Now, however, I had no idea how to get her out. I wasn’t strong enough to lift the couch, so I quickly called my husband home from work to rescue her. He lifted the couch, and a grateful Agnes came scampering out.

I took a video of the whole rigamarole and sent it to our daughter, assuring her that we were taking good care of her dog! We managed to raise four children to adulthood, but dogs are a little more tricky!

P.S. Agnes still loves us!