I have only cheated on my husband once. It began the way affairs typically do: a sense of emptiness and loss, followed by a little browsing online to see what was out there. One look at the big, earnest brown eyes looking out at me from a local website and I knew I was sunk. I had to know if the connection I felt was real.
I lied, and told my husband I was going out to run errands on a dreary Saturday afternoon. I brought my toddlers with me for the first meeting. “DON’T tell your father where we were,” I told them.
I knew it was probably a bad idea, so I went home and tried to put the whole thing out of my mind. I couldn’t. A few days later, I went back to the scene of the crime, and that was it. I knew we were meant for each other, and I had to have the big discussion with my husband.
“You are already completely overwhelmed,” he said. “The last thing we need is a dog.” Of course, he was right. We had three children ages five and under and a big house to take care of. But after the passing of our dog, Marley, the house just felt empty. No jingling collar. No pitter-patter of paws going from room to room. No one staring at us every time we ate. There was a huge, encompassing void that I wanted to fill, even if it was a bad idea.
“If you have to do this, then get the dog,” he said. “But it is your dog. I’m not walking it, I’m not feeding it. I don’t think we need this right now.”
When he left the next morning, he gave me the fatherly, “I know you’ll do the right thing” speech. I did the right thing…I packed up the kids, and went to the pound to get my dog. I drove home wondering what the heck I did. I had an enormous St. Bernard in the front seat, with my toddlers in the back. What if she was vicious? What if I couldn’t handle her? Oh my God, what did I just do?
It was a very rare, warm January day. We brought Bonnie out back right away to let her check out her new yard. Just then, a huge rainbow formed overhead. I knew immediately that things were going to be fine- that rainbow was our old dog giving us her stamp of approval. We still had a few hurdles to overcome. Already protective of me and the kids, Bonnie growled at my husband when he arrived home at the end of the day. And she had VERY big paws that tracked in a lot of mud. But otherwise, she was the perfect dog. Her temperament was perfect, she was great with the kids, she did not jump on people, and she was calm.
We had many happy years with Bonnie. How could we not? She was the best. And my husband was her biggest fan, calling her “the best dog ever.” When she began having health issues at age 11, he was the one willing to do whatever it took to keep her alive. He was the one who couldn’t bring himself to put her down.
Just as she started her life with me, she ended it with me as well. I took her in to be put down on Oct. 27. It was horrible, heartbreaking, devastating. I have heard several references to the “Rainbow Bridge” from family and friends in the days since. Frankly, I don’t want her over the rainbow bridge, even if it is better. I want her in my room, snoring through the night. I want her coming on walks with me, even though they would take twice as long because she had to stop and sniff half the neighborhood. I want her camped out in middle of the hallway, deliberately blocking the cats from moving from room to room. I want her under my feet in the kitchen waiting for some food to fall, just as she did all the times that I yelled “Bonnie, MOVE!” I want her here. I miss her…we all do, for different reasons. My husband is now hesitant to get another dog, because no one can possibly measure up to Bonnie.
As far as affairs go, this one worked out pretty well.