by Chloe Williams, Guest Contributor
This is Luna. She’s a goldendoodle who is a sucker for cuddles and a lover of chew toys (the squeaky annoying ones). Luna isn’t just a cute furball that could be mistaken for a mop, she’s got a story to tell.
Let me start by saying I’m not an animal person. So when my husband started the “I think we should get a dog” talk, I frankly told him,
“We need that like we need a hole in our head.”
Because our life wasn’t crazy enough.
By crazy I mean I was planning a remote wedding while my husband was deployed somewhere in the Pacific. That meant having nothing but the occasional email to talk to my hubby-to-be. I had just quit my public relations job in Washington, D.C., to move to Hawaii (not too shabby, but stressful nonetheless).
When we arrived in Hawaii, reality smacked us straight in the face. My husband immediately went back to work on the submarine, sleeping every 3 nights on the boat and I was left to wait for our belongings to arrive in boxes…all while entertaining 2 sets of guests and oh, I was job searching too.
So yes, my life was nuts.
My life was also lonely.
Eventually my life changes caught up with me and had a ripple effect on my husband. This new life as I quickly understood as “Navy life” began to take a toll on our very new marriage.
I felt the foundation of our relationship crumbling all while I struggled to maintain my career and my sanity. Deep down I knew that if we didn’t get a handle on this, our fragile foundation would turn into bitter roots. And roots are hard to rip out – just ask any gardener.
Our marriage was fragile and silence was beginning to sound louder than words. We didn’t need a change, what we needed was something consistent. Like committing the next 15 years or so of our life to a furry friend.
During the fights the one thing we agreed on was getting a dog. Dog talk was a safe zone and we quickly began to sound like one of those dog people. I used to hate those people.
Google searches turned into talks with breeders. After a few weeks we finally found a dog we liked but as we prepared to sign our John Hancock for ownership, the breeder admitted that he wanted to keep the dog for future breeding. But before we said good riddance, he showed us another dog that he said was too shy to breed.
We loved that puppy even more because she wasn’t wanted.
Plus, because of the last-minute decision, the breeder gave us a huge discount. The inner cheapskate in me screamed for joy. That’s my Luna, giving me a discount on day one! It was meant to be.
Now instead of fighting, we redirect that tension by playing with our puppy. When one of us is having a bad day, we channel that sadness into some serious pet therapy.
As we cleaned up after the lovely days of potty training, we ended up training ourselves on how to handle our marriage.
As any pet owner knows, dogs need walks and as it turned out, our marriage needed a little exercise too. When we walk Luna, we talk; and work on our open communication. We use those daily walks to bond, to enjoy the island, and to shift our focus, and our appreciation, to the present – something that is so critical in a life that is constantly forcing you to think ahead.
My dog saved me. And most importantly, my dog saved my marriage.
Luna teaches us to laugh, to be playful, and being the queen that she is, if we don’t want to focus on tough stuff, we focus on her because she will always, and I mean ALWAYS give us attention and thus, giving us a break from each other.
By raising a dog, we improved our marriage. We learned to embrace the crazy and grab military life by the horns or should I saw paws. All because of our fur-child.
Oh, and wouldn’t you know it, Luna was born on our wedding day.
Now THAT’S a paw-fect match.
Chloe is not just a dog mom and Navy wife, but she’s a social media and marketing specialist for Cake Works, a custom/wedding cake bakery in Honolulu, Hawaii.