Henson, the Service Dog
By Stacey Kuhns
I hope that everyone out there is celebrating Mother's Day in a way that makes them happy. For those of us with children, we have all gone through the ups and downs of motherhood. Sometimes, it is the most amazing thing ever, and sometimes, you want to lock yourself in the bathroom and cry.
Is it all worth it in the end? Of course!
Today, Mother's Day 2016, I am reflecting on motherhood. Maybe not in the way you think. Of course, I love my kids and plan to see them later tonight, after I go to work at the animal rescue place. Yep, it's my day today and I should be relaxing or out taking pictures or doing something exciting, but my heart is happy because I will be taking care of lots of fur babies who are without mothers or families for various reasons.
I am also a new mom one week today. Seven days ago, I brought home my new baby, Henson. I talked about him in a prior blog post. Henson just turned 8 weeks old yesterday and he and I are starting our journey of bonding so we may begin training in a month or two for him to be my service dog. This is a two-year training commitment, and of course, a lifetime bond/love commitment.
Being disabled, I wondered whether I could even take on the job of being a new mom to a very young pup. I was worried the physical aspect of having a young puppy around, potty training, crate training, etc., would be too taxing for me.
Well, there have been days where I have questioned my decision to embark on this journey. I love Henson and he is a very good puppy, but my body is screaming at me that this might have been a bad idea. I am in excruciating pain daily since I got Henson and have had to increase the pain medication I take.
Some days, I feel guilty that I cannot run around the yard with him. I worry that while I am at a medical appointment for an hour tomorrow that he will cry in his crate the entire time I am gone. Hmm, kind of brings back memories of the kids crying at night and the doctor telling me to ignore them (once they were out of the baby stage), because they just wanted attention. A very difficult thing to ignore anyone or anything that is crying. But I digress.
Each day, I remind myself that this is a positive thing for Henson and I. We are in this together. I give him lots of love and attention and he follows me everywhere. When I sleep, he sleeps. When I go outside, he goes outside. When I am working on the computer, he is resting with his head on my feet. He seems happy and healthy. Do I still question that I am the best mom he could have? Yes, every day. But I also know a lifetime of loving animals, loving my friends, my children, my family, and I feel I have always done the best job I can do.
Yes, some days I can barely walk, but this little boy is counting on me as much as I am counting on him. I could barely kneel down to get his food and water into the back of his crate. Days that going in and out of the back door to make sure he does not have to go potty have taken their toll on me. But I look for ways around those obstacles. I now feed him in the kitchen. When I take him outside, I sit outside and enjoy watching him, the birds, the clouds, and just take a deep breath. I tell myself I have no reason to be rushing around trying to get everything done. It will happen.
Is having a puppy always a fun experience? Hell no! Is it a joy and a worthwhile experience? Hell yes! My friends and family have stepped in to help with Henson when I need it and I am grateful for that. Sometimes, we have to ask for help and not be ashamed that we need assistance. I have learned that the hard way over many years of always trying to be Supermom, Superwoman, Superemployee, etc.
In the long run, it is your needs that matter. All the moms, and dads, out there, deserve such credit. Whether you are a mom or dad of a furbaby or a human child, they are the ones who fill our hearts with love. Experiencing the ups and downs of "momhood" is what it is all about. We do the best we can and just plug along when we can't. I am grateful for all the experiences I have had as a mom to all my children.