Charlie - Our Christmas Day Puppy Suprise
It has been a hard year. To be honest it feels like the last few years have been pretty tough. We are still currently in a classified global pandemic. Pretty much Ray’s entire life! However, for my three boys (currently 10, 7 and 3 respectively) the last few months have exceptionally challenging.
We have known that I was facing a second round of major neuro-surgery since the start of the year. The date for this was officially scheduled in August for November the 18th. A four-month count down in which I had really pushed hard work wise, was managing ongoing fatigue from my condition (as well as vertigo and the hearing challenges) and general anxiety this brings too.
Shortly after this date was secured, we also had good bye to our beloved fur-baby Chase in September. Chase had been battling Addison's since February (more in a blog here). He was our first dog and was eleven years old. All of the boys lives he had been there. My dogs are very much therapy dogs. I am a highly sensitive person (as is my older son) with extensive childhood trauma. They are a key part of my mental wellbeing toolkit to manage ongoing anxiety and depression. Navigating the loss of Chase in my children, as well as my own, was very challenging. My older boys slept in bed with me for a week and I took time off work through this period.
Right at this particular period I was also navigating a difficult new relationship with a company called Baby on the Move. More about this another time but let’s just say there are strong reasons why I am no longer in a relationship with them. How they treated me during the time that I was not at work was not only unprofessional but extremely unkind to a small business owner with three small children.
Through the hell that was surgery which involved being away from my children in order to recover we then had Christmas to face.
Christmas is a challenging period for me at the best of times. Fair to say this has not been the best of times. However, like many parents who have had a difficult childhood or history of hard Christmases – I am still wanting to give my children the best that I can while nurturing my own inner. The day I came home after 12 days of recovery from my surgery happened to be December the 1st. The boys were really happy and supportive of me coming home so we got stuck in and put our Christmas tree up. This was actually a memorable experience the joy on the boys faces was everything.
We are not big on presents for the boys and I decided right at Arjun’s first Christmas that we would not be telling them that anything we did get was from Santa or that he was real. This is a personal value of mine. I did not want to be lying to my children or setting them up for disappointment when they found out. Moreover there was no way that a fictional white man was going to take credit for my hard work. My resolve on this has only strength over the years as I delve into gender research and understand more about gender inequality and toxic masculinity.
I am digressing a little here but I always think it worth talking about how others do this period of the year. It can be very easy to get stuck into ‘well this is just what you do’. Without stopping to think if its a value that sits well with you.
I knew that when Chase passed that it would impact our other puppy, Chloe. Chloe joined us right before the big lockdown hit. She provided a lot of love and timely distraction. She literally pulled me from some dark places over the last few months. There was no way though I could think of another dog when we lost Chase. Not only as we needed time to grieve but also facing such big surgery.
When I was having my surgery I had her booked into our local dog kennel. The owners there are very experienced. I had known that Chloe was already a bit down not having a companion anymore – this was all she had known. The owners suggested that if we were getting another puppy it would be best to do so while Chloe was still a puppy herself – it literally changes the chemicals in their brains! I had already been looking (without a lot of seriousness) but started with a bit more decisiveness when I came home and was feeling a bit better. I was hoping to ideally find another girl Cav and a tri-coloured one.
I firmly believe that dogs come to you at a particular time. One evening a couple of weeks back I found Charlie. She is the runt of her litter and her breeders think she will be quite a small Cav – I certainly do not mind as she just seemed perfect. Best of all the breeders were offering a Christmas Day exchange. One advantage of not having big Christmas plans! The thought of the look on my boys faces when I surprised them with a new puppy right on Christmas day was worth everything for me.
And it certainly was. I will not ever forget this moment.
I had arranged to pick up Charlie at about 4pm on Christmas Day. This was timed well for after Ray’s nap and as we did our few presents and a beach trip in the morning the boys were not expecting anything at all.
Charlie is just 8 weeks of age and weighing only 800grams!
The timing of Christmas is also perfect in that I am at home with the boys so we can help her adjust to our busy tribe life and train her too. She is my third cavalier and we had basically everything from Chloe (and I am still training Chloe too) so it does not feel like much extra work for me.
We have had her for just on five days now and the pure joy she has brought is indescribable. Chloe has adjusted exceptionally well and been more herself than I have seen her in months.
I will be sharing more of our beautiful cav girls on socials and you can follow us on their official handles on IG and Tiktok (Cavs_chloe_n_charlie).
Just before Christmas I read this quote in one of the books the boys and I are reading at the moment (how to train a dragon series). I knew at the time we were getting Charlie but it was not until I picked her up and saw the boys so in love with her right away that I really knew how right it was. Life is hard. Life can be so cruelly unfair but we also have the ability to seek and find moments within this where we can.
"It is a constant reminder to me of the human ability to create something beautiful, even when things are at their darkest".
I am not sure what 2023 will bring. When you are up to big things, wanting to create a large impact well the universe always has a few interesting cards up her sleeve. What I do know is that with good humans in your circle and good loyal companions by your side much can be overcome.
x Dr Julie