Love, Loss, Life

loss of family pet Shih poo

What is up with my family and animal tragedies lately? It really is not my style to be this animal focused, but I truly have to share my first baby’s story. He really was our first and he deserves the honor and respect. Puffer was a shih-poo pup that I spied at the Oldsmar flea market in October, 1997. I had been engaged for two months to Kevin and our birthdays are both in October. We did not have an agenda to buy a pet before we were married (the following June), but when we saw that this puff of a fur ball was so happy and playful in his pen while his brother in the same pen was so lethargic…..Kevin and I saw that this pup was ready to see life and we wanted “the fun one”. Even though Puffer was “marked down” to $225 since he was already 8 weeks old and “a football special”, we knew we wanted his zest for life.
And we got it. Actually, what I grew to know about Kevin and his love of dogs and especially his connection to Puffer was admirable. Kevin trained Puffer to be the best and they had a connection I did not have with either of them. They had each other. Fast forward five years into our marriage when baby #1 came around. Puffer did great at first, but eventually his jealousy came around and he one day put his jealousy as a bite into my sleeping baby. I was ready to get him out, but Kevin said it will be fine. Puffer only bit the baby that one day, but he lunged at the 2nd and 3rd baby at least once as well. Let’s just say my relationship with the dog was cordial at best because I was with him more during the day while I was raising the growing babies. During this time I would just look at Puffer and he would put his ears down. He knew I was the mama protecting my babies.
But in the last few years, everything changed. The kids were growing up, the dog slowed down and the only reason I kept up with Puffer was because of Kevin…his love for the animal. Honestly, when you adopt a pet before having kids, the kids do not have the same connection as the parents. When I told my two youngest that Puffer passed yesterday, they asked a lot of questions about death, but they did not cry. I cried. Kevin cried. The oldest cried---he remembers more. But life goes on.
I wasn’t planning on writing a blog until the end of February….after I return from a fabulous food and nutrition conference next week where I will have tons of updated nutrition news. But since this is Valentine’s week….it is a gentle reminder that love happens anywhere, anytime and even if the love is short…it is good. If it goes on longer than you thought—even better. I love Kevin because of his love of Puffer. And you know what the icing on the cake is? Puffer’s last meal was vanilla ice cream—purchased by Kevin. No Eukanuba, no vitamins, no insulin, no IV. Just sugar and fat in all of its glory. That is life, my friends. Puffer ended life on a really, really great note. He had a really great canine life and he felt love until the end. Isn’t that how you want it? I do too---sugar and love!
Enjoy your chocolate, red wine, indulgent restaurant meal or just a bowl of your favorite ice cream this Valentine’s Day with those that you love---animal or human! It’s all good and this kind of pleasure in the simple things is what life is all about. Don’t worry about the calories…too much…until next time!

An appetizer of Paris and Amsterdam.
How well do you know yourself?

Sarah Krieger, a Registered and Licensed Dietitian

Provide in person individual assessments in Saint Petersburg Florida area. Services include Nutrition Assessments, one-time or on-going personal chef service, Pregnancy Consulting: Weight Control and Healthy Eating When you’re Pregnant, Remote Nutritional Consulting, Lap Band Surgery Consultation, Nutrition Education to groups or any age, Training Videos, Media Interview for print, live and taped media..