on getting a puppy and choosing the wild things.

December 30, 2013, Michaela Evanow, 18 Comments

We recently brought home a little puppy for our girl Florence. He’s a golden Chorkie, (chihuahua crossed with a Yorkshire terrier). He’ll be a small, lap dog, perfect for couch snuggles with Florence, and long days at home with me. We named him Rudy. “He’s a dreamer who just won’t quit.”


For Christmas, my husband Jay asked our landlord for approval. Originally we weren’t allowed to have pets in our rental home. The landlord said yes, and so, Jay presented me with a “good for one puppy” voucher and flower scented poop bags.



I was thrilled at first, and then realized I didn’t feel strong enough to take it on. It scared me. I started thinking the very worst.

My heart revealed: I was afraid.

I was afraid of Florence dying and the dog remaining, a constant reminder of what was lost. I was afraid of hospital stays and a puppy that’s not housebroken. I was afraid of stress and fatigue and death.

I decided it would be easier to choose fear and just keep things simple. Our circumstances are hard, I reminded myself, and this might make them harder.

Jay, after hearing me cry and share my heart, agreed that he could feel these things too, but he wasn’t agreeing with them.

He said, “we have to choose life and joy this year, and right now, a puppy will bring us life and joy.”

It took some time for us to decide if this would be a safe decision.

Getting a puppy is usually never a safe decision, which is why we said yes.

Jay looked at me and said, “I’m proud of you for pushing through. We made the right decision.”

Life, with arms wide open, that’s what we want.

We brought Rudy home and it was wonderful. I cried great big tears when Florence met him for the first time. She made her little “woof woofs” and smiled and giggled and pushed out her new word “Dokk, dokk!

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Later in the evening, a few unrelated issues came to my attention, and before I knew it, the combination of new things, fear and emotions proved toxic to my system. I was suddenly fragile and overloaded. That old wet blanket of panic heaved it’s musty arms around me, and I ended up in bed for the rest of the night.

Shoot. We made the wrong decision. I can’t do this. I can’t do this. I can’t…

New things make me nervous. My comfort zones with Florence are at home, in good health, calmness, routine.

It hit me hard. I want to be brave and wild this year, I want to be full, and if that means a little chaos, then so be it. I can do this.


Morning came and I was still pushing through the panic. At this point it had nothing to do with the puppy, but it was part of the trigger. However, I had called it by name, recognized it and realized my strength was thinning fast. I used to live on watered down strength for months after Florence’s diagnosis. I would crack at the slightest thing, unable to eat, bent over the toilet. Panic. Have you ever experienced it? It makes you feel weak and broken, like something is terribly wrong with you.

I like to think of myself as a strong woman, but panic tells me otherwise.

Squashing it means taking time: to refill, time for prayer and soft songs sung again and again until the rhythm of His grace lulls me into a place of peace.

Rest, pick up the pieces, the scattered ones that make me feel broken beyond repair, take a deep breath. I hate admitting that our journey has taken me down some dark and lonely paths. I hate seeing the damaged parts of myself rise up. But perhaps, they were here all along, and now I’m finally learning to shove them aside.

Parenting a child that has significant needs is not easy, but it doesn’t have to ruin you. Our circumstances, whatever they may be, should not define us.

This year, we choose life, however wild, unrelenting, chaotic and surprising it may be. As Rudy sits on my lap, curled up and fast asleep, I know we made the right decision. The love, loyalty and tenderness an animal brings will make pee spots on the carpet a distant memory.

This year, we choose to believe that good things are coming. 2014 is a year of wild hope and bravery.

We are all brave enough to set our sights on the miraculous, to attain those dormant dreams, to push through the ugly things until we see the sprout of green coming up through the dirt.

Hope, it lives here too, brokenness and all.

alfred tennyson quote


  • Reply Amy Hunt January 19, 2014 at 4:24 AM

    Michaela, I am astounded at how God uses all things to draw us to Him. He makes beauty out of the darkest situations of our lives. As gut wrenching as it is, He is using your experience to draw you ever closer to Him; for Him to be your everything, even over your dream and disappointment of that dream, and your hope and thoughts of how “unrealistic” that hope may be. He wants to be your everything. So when your comfort feels ripped off and you feel naked and cold like a blanket has been grabbed off, He wants to be the One to comfort you . . . not food or people or anything at all. That nakedness and discomfort and pain is allowed to make you whole through His Holiness.

    I realize that these words might be painful, though I pray they bring you peace. And I pray rich blessings in your choosing of brave to accept now, as it is, and not to look beyond it to where fear lies. Your fear of “what if” and of being left with the pup is okay and acceptable. You honor God so much when you say “yes” and accept the gift as it is today. You can trust that He is not a cruel God and He will protect you and that there is a gift in this, even for “tomorrow” and whatever it may bring.

    I’m lifting you up today, dear friend. For your focus to turn to gratitude today and for His peace to envelope you, giving you a strength to trust Him more today.

    {hugs} and much peace . . .

  • Reply idelette January 9, 2014 at 10:50 AM

    O, my goodness … I love Rudy already. And Rudy with Flo is so beautiful. And I love how you wrote through your struggle … May Rudy only bring blessing.

    • Reply Michaela. January 9, 2014 at 11:55 AM

      oh my dear friend, thank you. He is a loveable guy isn’t he? thank you for your words. xo

  • Reply Bo Stern (@Bostern) January 3, 2014 at 10:12 AM

    Oh man, you totally read my mail and my heart with this post. In fact, this exact issue about getting a dog (which my kids are wanting badly) and risking the mess, but more than that risking the loss. Your words give me courage to live wide open. Thank you, friend.

    • Reply Michaela. January 4, 2014 at 9:31 AM

      Oh Bo, it’s still a bit crazy for us! But we’ve had many people offer to dog sit and Rudy is proving to be such a sweet, nurturing pup. For us, it was more about the risk, the choice to live big, rather than the dog itself. I think you should do it!

  • Reply cc January 2, 2014 at 2:13 PM

    i come across your blog now and then and it’s so heartwrenchingly, beautifully written. it’s also refreshing to see an vancouverite that seems to embrace the indie aesthetic but is SO rooted in god. i tear up everytime i read your posts. my blessings to you and your family.

    • Reply Michaela. January 2, 2014 at 5:51 PM

      Oh hello! Thank you. That’s such an awesome thing to hear. xo

  • Reply Rachel December 31, 2013 at 6:07 PM

    How cute. I was almost crying reading this but I didn’t thank goodness. Puppy’s and dogs are the best Medican. Even when I take one of our dogs visiting people they just light up when me and the dog come into the room.

  • Reply Bev. Nash December 30, 2013 at 10:38 PM

    Just love the pics. Rudy is a blessing already! You are an overcomer and an honest one at that. This is life, and the victory that overcomes, even our faith. You show such courage and honestly face your foes! As you confront each fear you are getting ready for an enlargement and an increase in God’s amazing Presence! You’ve made me bawl my eyes out too many times to count. You have challenged me in my faith walk and called me higher. Love you more than words could say! I honour you my amazing daughter, Mom

  • Reply Karen Guenther December 30, 2013 at 2:48 PM

    I think it’s wonderful and will bring joy and distraction to you all. Just look how happy she is. Dogs have a very keen sense and love around sick people. And besides that dog is so darn cute! A very happy, healthy new year for you all!!

  • Reply mamatocharlotte December 30, 2013 at 2:24 PM

    If you zoom out so that the details are fuzzier, your story could be my story. Life thrown off kilter by a panic-inducing wrench and requiring significant growth in order to reset and not just live but thrive. And the constant work required to do what is brave and hard, knowing that a life that feels truly lived is the reward. You’re doing it so well. Even when it doesn’t feel like it, you really are. Thank-you for writing about it, it is such an inspiration and an example for me in my own journey. Here’s to the new year-wild, unrelenting, chaotic and surprising. You can do it, and so can I. With fierce grace.

    • Reply Michaela. December 30, 2013 at 2:28 PM

      Oh your words are so precious to me. Yes, yes, yes! My heart swells within me, knowing that other mamas are pushing through their journeys and are in this, walking this out with me. Yes we can do this! xo

  • Reply crochetingbeautiful December 30, 2013 at 1:44 PM

    He’s darling, and will bring much Joy!

    • Reply Michaela. December 30, 2013 at 2:25 PM

      Yes he will won’t he? 🙂

  • Reply Barbara Peters December 30, 2013 at 12:28 PM

    Lucky Michaela, lucky Rudy, lucky Mommy and Daddy. This is a win,win win,win situation.

    • Reply Barbara Peters December 30, 2013 at 12:33 PM

      Oops, missed…lucky Florence,,too

    • Reply Michaela. December 30, 2013 at 2:25 PM

      That’s right, it’s good all around!

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