Our Valiant Attempt at a Honeymoon–Part 1

My husband and I got married almost 10 years ago—December 16, 2006.  We never took a honeymoon then—or since—so, during the four-day Thanksgiving weekend, we planned to take our long-awaited solo vacation.  But because of my anxiety about leaving our sons and our three-month-old, four-pound puppy, Teddy, we ventured only 25 minutes away from home—downtown Chicago.

Months ago, our 22-year-old son, whose chosen pseudonym is “Vlad,” had promised to babysit our 11- and 6-year-olds, Patrick and Luke, for the duration—after my husband said he would “make it worth his while.”  However, the day before our departure, our babysitting Vlad said he needed to leave our house on Saturday morning, rather than Sunday, because he needed to be back at college for undisclosed reasons.  So we cancelled our couples’ massages, scheduled for Saturday morning, and our Saturday night stay.

On Thursday morning—Thanksgiving morning, the first full day of our stay—Vlad called my cell at 10:41 a.m. to tell me that Patrick, who weighs 94 pounds, had accidentally stepped on four-pound Teddy, and Teddy was limping.

Teddy

Teddy

I told my husband we needed to go home.

My husband said that Vlad could handle the situation.

I then spoke with Patrick, who was crying because he felt so guilty about accidentally hurting Teddy, and he told me the truth:  That he had stepped not on Teddy’s foot, but on his little leg; Teddy had yelped loudly; Teddy was not limping, but walking around on three legs; and he was convinced that he’d broken Teddy’s tiny back leg.

Once again, I told my husband we needed to go home.

Once again, my husband said that Vlad could handle the situation.

I understood that my husband’s priority was our honeymoon, but I had to weigh his wishes against the feelings of my sobbing, guilt-ridden 11-year-old and, of course, injured Teddy.  I agreed to let Vlad take Teddy to the emergency vet clinic, but I started packing, imagining Teddy’s leg crushed into smithereens, never to be used again.  I imagined 94 pounds coming down on top of a toothpick-sized leg.

“If Teddy’s leg is broken,” I said, “we have to go home so I can take care of him.  They won’t be able to handle it.”

My husband sat on the couch, seemingly emotionless, staring at his phone.

I asked, “How can you be so calm?”

“I’m not going to buy into it until we know something for sure,” he said.  “Plus, you’re the Mom.”

“I’m not saying that we’re leaving for sure,” I said.  “But I need to pack while we wait to hear from the vet.”

Now, I suffer from anxiety, so I would have been stressed out by this situation regardless.  But we have extraordinarily bad luck with puppies.

Last February, we adopted an eight-week-old Labradoodle whom we named Bullet.  But Bullet suffered from a rare congenital swallowing disorder, and, after three months of specialty vet appointments and a surgery, she passed away in May at four months of age.

In August, we adopted a ten-week-old Labradoodle puppy, Mollie, from a different breeder—a breeder I briefed about our devastation regarding Bullet.  Yet Mollie was not the completely healthy dog the breeder promised:  On Mollie’s sixth night with us, she had bloody diarrhea for hours.  She was diagnosed with three types of parasites, which are treatable and whose symptoms we might have been able to handle, if we hadn’t been suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder because of Bullet’s death.  The breeder apologized, saying that Mollie was the only puppy in 21 years who had a “problem,” but we couldn’t accept another sick puppy, emotionally and financially.  The breeder retrieved Mollie, but said we couldn’t have our money back since Mollie’s health issues weren’t genetic, per the contract.  She said we could have a “replacement puppy” when we were ready.

And now we have Teddy, and Teddy is so tiny.  And I have nightmares in which Teddy is hurt or killed.  And I know that we, as a family, will COMPLETELY LOSE IT if something bad happens to Teddy.  And now Teddy is hurt—we don’t know how badly—and this time it is not a genetic abnormality or illness for which we are not responsible, but an injury that my son will blame himself for, even though Teddy is to tiny that it’s so easy to accidentally step on him.

But Vlad took Teddy to the emergency vet clinic.  And the vet patiently examined Teddy’s back left leg from his hip down to his toes, and Teddy felt no pain.  She said Teddy was running around on all fours, just fine.  She said Vlad, Patrick and Luke could take Teddy home, reporting in the next day if he experienced pain or swelling.

So, at 11:41 a.m., I unpacked my suitcase.  Then I poured myself a glass of wine.  After all, it was my honeymoon…

(Vlad later told my husband that Teddy’s leg had been bent outward…  This morning, I took Teddy to the vet for a check-up, and his leg is perfect.  Apparently, he has Playdoh-like limbs.)

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