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His Dream, My Nightmare

Telling Your Story
by Bev Berens

Published: Friday, June 26, 2020

The old farm dog, Cass, has finally passed on. We don't know for sure how old she was, but the last six months were tough for the old girl. Hard of hearing, painful to get around, doggy dementia and some annoying skin problems.

She was the dog who snuck into the neighbor's house and slept on her white couch. She was the dog who would run off to hang with the neighbor's dog, no matter the punishment. She was the dog who got nicked on the road at least three times because of her active social life. She was the dog who knew when someone was hurting. She was the dog who gave great comfort, and the dog that caused me great embarrassment.

Mr. Berens has always wanted a red Border Collie. Last week, I texted him a photo of a cute red pup. My only intention was to show him a cute puppy. Next thing I know, we are telling the owner we will take him. Wait, what? How did that happen?

It was a seven and a half-hour drive to Vulcan, west of Escanaba in the Upper Peninsula to bring this little guy home. I got to take a trip to the U.P. with my husband, (my favorite part of Michigan, God-forsaken wilderness to him) but as far as I am concerned, it does not count as leisure since we made no stops besides gas, bathroom breaks and one sit-down meal in a café. No stopping to look at beautiful waterfalls, scenery or anything. Nope, it does not count as a "real trip."

The pup's name had to reflect something from the U.P. Bear, Moose—no; everyone has a dog named Bear or Moose. The finalists came down to Fitz for the Edmund Fitzgerald, Kip for Kitch-iti-kippi, Mac for the Mackinac Bridge, and my personal favorite, White for Whitefish Point. A red dog named White—Hahahaha! Mac seemed to fit as we got to know him during the trip home, so Mac it is.

Although Mac slept a big part of the way home, he seemed to be less anxious if he was near me. The further into the long ride home, the more anxious he became, and would only settle down in my arms. The last two hours of the trip he and I slept; me with the seat laid back, him laying across my chest, head snuggled under my chin.

I officially became his new momma dog. Yep. Mr. Berens' dream dog, for the moment, has chosen me as his person.

Not only that, Mr. Berens' dream dog has become my daily nightmare, as I wipe up endless puddles and piles before we make it outside. He howls and barks pitifully if I am out of his sight. He tries to fling himself onto me when we are in the car, because for now, the kennel is out of the question because he howls longer and louder than any eight-week-old puppy should.

His dream dog, my nightmare. The cat and I used to have a peaceful, quiet life. Our morning walk and weed in the garden together, she curling up under my desk for the morning, sleeping at my feet every night. Now, a pup must sleep in our room to be close to his dog-momma. The cat does not tolerate this intruder at all. She smacks him at every opportunity he wanders within paw's reach, just to make sure the pecking order is firmly established.

I complain about my new dog-momma job as I attempt to work at the job that pays. I try to explain to a puppy about doing his business outside and how he is supposed to tell me when he needs a trip out the door. I complain while I am staring into those loving gray eyes and smooching his fuzzy puppy face. By the time I get to stroking his silky ears, the complaining has left, and I am enjoying the presence of a very baby puppy. I hope someday to have a return to a quiet life that includes working in my office with a purring cat nearby, and a dog that doesn't start a pet feud and can tell me when he needs to go outdoors. Someday that will happen. Until then, I continue to live on the thin line between sheer puppy happiness and nightmare.

Bev Berens is a mom to 4-H and FFA members in Michigan. Do you have a story to share? Email her at

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