58: Blend Well

58: Blend Well

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Dog Did What?

Blend Well

There is no psychiatrist in the world like a puppy licking your face.

~Ben Williams

“Let’s get a dog,” I said. Scott looked at the picture of a one-pound, one-ounce little white ball of fur with big black eyes looking back at him from my computer screen.

The next day we were in the car “just to look.”

As the woman walked out with the tiny white ball of puppy, my heart melted. I immediately reached for him. I don’t remember talking about it. I just remember thinking “he’s ours now.” I looked at my smiling husband and knew he felt the same. I handed the puppy to Scott while I fumbled to prepare the car for our new addition.

Scott held our new baby, well, like a new baby. He stood perfectly still and upright. Fear on his face. He didn’t even talk. I’m not even sure he was breathing. I grabbed the puppy back from a now relieved looking Scott and we headed home.

The ride home was filled with phone calls and announcements.

“We got a puppy!”

After the flood of calls the conversation turned to logistics. What would he eat? Where would he sleep? What would we call him? Barney. We will call our newest little family member Barney. A name cleverly thought up by my mother-in-law.

Scott and I had married only three months earlier and had become a ready-made-family. He had two boys; I had one boy. We struggled to learn our roles with our new family members. Blending a family is not easy and not instant. We had different rules, different ways of life, and we needed to find common ground.

Scott and I decided to surprise the boys with the new puppy. Each boy, one by one, entered the room, smiled, and fell to the floor to get closer to our new addition.

“Who is this?”

“Did we get a dog?”

“Can we play with him?”

“He’s so small.”

We all fell silent as Barney took his tiny first steps over to investigate a new brother waiting across the room. As he reached his destination we all laughed and beamed with pride. I scanned the room and noticed all eyes were on Barney. The boys were laughing and calling out for him. They joked with each other and us about the tiny dog. Could Barney be the answer? Could it be this little dog could somehow bring us together?

We all watched as Barney learned his name, learned to go outside, and finally learned how much he loved treats. Eventually the little one-pounder grew to a hefty six pounds. He was still so small. But he had a giant personality. No matter what the mood of the house, Barney would change it. At any moment he would trot into a room and look at us like he was saying, “What are we doing, guys?” Everyone would smile. He had the ability to make a bad situation good or a good situation better. But most of the time he would just show up. He wouldn’t expect anything. He just wanted to be a part of whatever was going on.

He didn’t know he was part of a blended family. He just knew we were his family. He didn’t love one more than another. He didn’t see a stepbrother or stepparent. He just saw a family—his family. Barney became more than common ground for the family. For me, he became an example of how I want to live my own life.

Fill the room with unconditional love, show up, and bring treats.

~Diana Lynn

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