I've been wanting to write about Mother's Day but my relationship with my mom is complicated and maybe I'll write about it some day, but not today. I think it's kind of lame holiday to be honest, every day is Mother's Day isn't it? Some moms are so-called soccer moms. The new hot thing around here is to be a hockey mom. Not me- I am a poodle mom. This is in honor of the creature who taught me more than a little something about being a mom.
MrB and I picked up Oliver on the day we came home from our honeymoon. MrB calls him our dog son. That's really what he is. He is 80 lbs of unconditional love in a curly haired coat. A person in a poodle suit.
Oliver is a standard poodle. Standard poodles get a bad wrap because of the foo foo ones you see parading around in dog shows. I can't stress that enough. Standard poodles are brilliantly smart. I read that they have the vocabulary equivalent of a three year old. I can't tell you where I read that because I'm not smart enough to remember. They are extremely gentle and mild mannered. Excellent with children. Well behaved. Affectionate sometimes to a fault. Plus they don't shed. (Bonus)
My Oliver is all these things and more. He loves to steal sideways swipes of berries off of neighbor's bushes when he thinks you are not looking. He loves to snatch bananas off the dining room table if I leave them too close to the edge. He loves to lay in the shade on a nice day. He loves to turn around and look you in the eye when he sees another dog on the walk - as if to say Did you see that mom? Did you? He's always at the door when I come in. His tail wagging, his eyes excited. When my little man wakes up crying Oliver will come upstairs to make sure everything is OK. He likes to lick the ears of unsuspecting vet techs. He likes to lie on the couch with his head in your lap. He greets me every morning with a kiss. One quick slurp on my chin. I know, I know, he licks his own butt. I wash my face soon after. Yes, its kind of gross, but it is so loving and one of the ways we touch base every day. To say hi buddy, it's good to see you.
It's been hard on Oliver since the baby came home with us. He doesn't get nearly as much affection or attention but he's never wavered. Never eaten a shoe, never acted out in any way. He patiently waits for his turn to be greeted. Lays there stoically while the little man tugs his ears and pokes him in the eye.
During days when I was on maternity leave, getting used to being a mom and thinking I would never survive this, it would be me and the baby and Oliver during the day and I would think to myself, we've taken care of Oliver this long, I can do this. I really can do this. He's partly the reason why. He'll be five this year. He reminds me not wish even the bad days away, they go so fast. I loved taking care of Oliver. I still do. He was my trial run. My practice case. He taught me what it is to be responsible for someone or something that really needs taking care of. The fundamentals of raising a pet and raising a child aren't really all that different. Positive reinforcement? Check. Setting limits? Yep. Self Sacrifice? Yes. Poop? Oh yes. Plenty of it. Love? Lots of love given and received. Check. Check.