About three weeks ago I was looking at the Infertility Network UK newsletter and I saw a review of a book called “The Puppy that Came for Christmas and Stayed Forever” by Megan Rix.
There was a puppy on the cover. So of course I had to buy it. And I am so glad I did.
“The Puppy that Came for Christmas” is about Megan and her husband Ian’s journey to try and have a child. It is a story about the emotional rollercoaster that infertility is – and the challenges that so many of us are familiar with. Hearing the news that having a baby is not going to be easy, or may not even be possible, is so heart wrenching. Spending time with people who have children, and particularly with those who have just had a baby, can be so difficult to bear. I could relate to so much of what Megan and Ian went through.
What was different about this book from many personal stories of infertility is that through all of this the focus was very much on how Megan and Ian found a new way of living – a new way of having a family and a life that they value and love.
I won’t give too much away, but that new kind of life started when Megan and Ian volunteered to foster a puppy that would eventually become a helper dog. They took Emma in from when she was eight weeks old to when she was around six months old, when she went on to do her advanced helper dog training.
Emma introduced a whole new way of life that gave so much to Megan and Ian. And even though there was heartbreak when they had to let Emma go at six months of age (something I don’t think I could do – and was unbelievable selfless of Megan and Ian), she started something special.
It’s how I feel about my life now. Although there are times when I still grieve for our babies, and I feel the emotions of jealousy and anger, and the question rises once more of “why us?”, Kirby and I have a life we love. We have our dogs and cats and fish, and our nieces and nephews, we have us, we have travelling to do, and we have a freedom which we wouldn’t have if we had children. Our life is not better than if we had children – it’s our situation, it’s different, and we’ve decided to embrace it as much as possible.
When the end of the book was drawing near I found it hard to finish – I must admit. This wasn’t because it was poorly written, but because I didn’t want to say “goodbye” to my new “friends”. I had been on a journey with people (as well as their dogs) that I related to – and I felt as though Megan and Ian had become my friends. This is something unique, and a testament to Megan and Ian’s story, and the way Megan has written about it.
If – or, I hope, when – you read “The Puppy that Came for Christmas”, you will read about an incident in the book that left me furious when I read it. I think you will know it when you find it, and perhaps, like me, you will wish you could be there to put the particular woman involved in her place and wrap your arms around Megan to comfort and protect her. It happened during a puppy training session and it’s to do with just who makes the best puppy parents…that’s all I’m going to say…
If you have experienced infertility and love dogs I am certain you will love this book.
Actually, even if you’ve never experienced infertility, but you love dogs – you will love this book.
Get ready to fall in love…
And finally here are our boys…who we love so very much…