It's been 5 1/2 years since Reggie, my best Frenchie boy. Five and a half years is a LONG time, especially when you've always had dogs in your life. It's a lot of silence and space without a pup. I didn't plan for it to be that long, but it's just the way things played out. And now, I am back in the dog game with Emmie, my new best Frenchie girl!
It took, what feels like an eternity, to finally be in the place where I was ready to start the dog relationship again.
That relationship is no joke. It's constant, demanding, and a lot of responsibility. It is, however, an amazing relationship and unlike no other. Dogs lavish you with unconditional love and adoration. They're excited around all interactions, big or small. They are present moment beings. They simply love to be in your energy. What's not to love?
Dogs have mastered this, and us humans should take note.
I knew I would get another Frenchie. I'm kind of obsessed with them. When I got Reggie back in 2004, no one really knew about French Bulldogs. They weren't trendy, so it was even hard to find winter coats for Reggie back then, because there was no market. They are a breed unto themselves. Now, they are everywhere.
Reggie was a beautiful fawn boy, and while I became accustomed to his look, I knew that a different color Frenchie would be a better idea. If I got another fawn, I would inevitably be comparing the new pup to Reggie. I wanted the new pup to be his/her own independent self without comparison to others, so I was even happier when I realized I would be getting Emmie, a Brindle-pied (black and white) girl. She wouldn't resemble Reggie at all. What I didn't realize is that I would inevitably compare her in some ways to Reggie, because he was my point of reference for over 12 years. I would catch myself saying things like "Well, Reggie always loved his crate" or "Reggie did so and so." Now this is perfectly normal, but I did recognize that I was indeed comparing two totally different dogs and holding Emmie to some expectation of Reggie. I am making the conscious effort to no longer do that.
But back to Emmie, since she IS the star of this blog. She was a little over four months old when I picked her up in California. I had only seen pictures and videos, but I knew she was my girl. When we finally met face to face, she was shy and a bit scared. She was just a baby. And I was a stranger taking her out of her life with her brother and sister and mom and all the other Frenchies in the house. We didn't have a lot of time to get to know each other, since we were flying back to Chicago the next morning, and she had never been in a travel carrier or on an airplane. I worried this would not go well. I worried she would cry the entire time. I worried I wouldn't know what to do. Fortunately, Emmie handled it all like a rock star. She slept with me in the bed at the Airbnb without peeing lol, was willing to explore her travel carrier with the right treats, and she slept for the majority of the flight, with occasionally poking her head out of the carrier to see what's up. I was grateful. This was a lot for a little puppy to handle--so much new, so much noise, so much stimulus, so much unknown.
When we returned home, I couldn't believe I had this new pup in front of me! It had been so long, and I felt like a newbie with her.
It was a bit surreal.
Emmie was so small. Maybe 8 or 9 lbs. She was lightning bolt fast. And gorgeous with her outstanding black markings and giant ears. She loves to make direct eye contact and lick your face and ears, usually by standing on her hind legs in your lap to be bigger. She is very aware of her smaller size and is still getting used to her body. She watches me from the next room as I cook in my kitchen, observing everything. She is an observer. Of me, of the space, of others. I sing to her a lot--silly made up songs that repeat her name. I think that's more for me than her.
It's been almost four weeks now, and it feels like she's been with me for months. We are both still settling into the new routine and relationship. The bigger transition has been for Emmie, though. No more dog filled house, no more playing with her siblings. She is now the only dog, with full run of the space. It's a much quieter life for her, with a trade off of LOTS of attention and adoration from me, her human.
She follows me everywhere. She wakes up from a dead sleep if I get up.
She curls up on my lap and sleeps anytime I'm sitting down. She stands on me and chews my hair when I'm practicing yoga. Oh how I've missed this dog energy! The pure joy, The exuberance. The running back and forth full speed on floor, couch, AND bed. The chewing of my socks and other clothes.
The best kind of energy.