Zach and I got married in the summertime and had one semester left of college before graduation.

Zach wanted to start having babies immediately…whereas I wanted to give it a second before jumping into motherhood (not that we gave it long…I got pregnant with Kye around our 1 year wedding anniversary).

My suggestion was for us to get a puppy together.

At that point we had Sadie, but I’d had her through the puppy stage.

We also had Zeke, but cats aren’t quite the same as dogs.

I felt like getting a puppy would be a good lead-in to parenting.

Puppies aren’t easy. And they require a lot of thought, care and responsibility.

But even with puppies…you can leave them at home in a crate and not have to worry about a sitter 😉

Dogs are easier than children, for sure. Hence my thinking in it being a bit of a reality check for what we’d be in for with kids!

I really wanted a little, tiny dog. Like the kind that fit in your purse Paris Hilton style.

We began the hunt and found a breeder for teacup chihuahuas and picked up our little puppy!

Levi – June 2007

As expected to happen with newly married childless college kids, Levi was OUR BABY.

I took him everywhere with us and even bought him little clothes!

Including a matching football jersey for Zach’s senior season of football – I know so stinking cute!

Levi quickly fit right in with Sadie and Zeke and they all were close, but especially the two dogs.

We’d take them both with us on trips and both slept with us at night and there were never any issues – they had a special bond!

Levi turned out not to be a teacup size which worked out okay as once a real-life human baby entered our lives I wasn’t going to be carrying around a diaper bag for my dog anymore anyway 😉

When we first got Levi we lived in our first home together. Within that year we moved into another home.

And added a baby.

Levi did very well with the first move and was GREAT with Kye (well aside the fact that he almost died the night we brought Kye home)

With only having one child I was still able to give Levi a lot of attention.

I really, really should have researched better with dog breeds before we bought Levi. I didn’t know that chihuahuas tend to be very possessive and attached to one person and struggle with change.

We built our current home in 2010 and that move caused changes in Levi.

He started acting out with behavioral issues. We never had any problems with him and Kye but had many problems with destroying things in our new home and backtracking on his house training.

Once Britt entered the picture I was much, much less able to give Levi attention.

He continued to be both indoor and outdoor at that time, sleeping inside with us at night in the bed still and he did well with loving on Britt and, again, no issues with the kids.

By the time Tess arrived we were having to crate Levi at night as he started to act out during the night.

The more my attention was divided, the more he acted out.

Which, of course, I feel so badly about.

It’s not Levi’s fault that we had children. I’m thankful he never, ever had a single behavioral probable with the kids and I think a lot of that was also due to the more children we had, the less interactions he was having with them since his other behavior issues meant he mostly lived outside.

But still. When I think of Levi I feel guilt. I feel bad that I wasn’t able to give him more. Have a better bond with him.

By the time we brought Spear home Levi was a majority of the time outside dog. We have a wonderful backyard with plenty of space to run and play.

He had his crate and favorite toys and blankets and was very, very spoiled by Tess and her obsession with feeding him lots of food and treats 😉

Just recently a thread got started in my facebook group about how people didn’t even know we OWNED a dog.

We did then.

We don’t now.

At this point in life we are so busy and so on the go that I feel like our dog sitter has a closer bond with Levi than we do.

After Sadie and Zeke died Levi has been very lonely and sad.

It didn’t surprise me that he seemed to age so quickly this last year or so.

He started eating less and just wasn’t seeming like he was doing well.

Not in a rush-to-the-vet sort of way but just more in an old age, time to go sort of way.

Anytime I see him I pet him on the head and rub his ears.

Last week I saw him laying outside in the shade and his little ears perked up but he didn’t stand to greet me.

Instead he looked at me with his big brown eyes and I understood.

I sat with him a while and his tail wagged as I told him what a good boy he is and how much fun he’ll have with Sadie and Zeke.

I am so thankful that out of our three pets in marriage so far that at least one of them got to pass on in such a peaceful way.

I’m thankful Levi didn’t seem to be in any sort of pain. That he didn’t have some long lasting sickness. That we didn’t have to make tough choices.

With Sadie I had so many happy memories, and it hurts my heart to think about Levi and that we weren’t able to have as many happy memories as I’d hoped we would have.

I’m so glad he got to meet all of our babies and for the sweet moments we shared over the last 12 years.

I really didn’t think I’d be super sad when Levi died.

With kids you don’t have favorites…but with pets you do and Levi was the least favorite for us all. (I’m not trying to be ugly but facts are facts guys!).

But man it still really hits me that he’s gone and I just feel really sad about it.

I had a feeling all week it was going to happen. Just that intuition I guess. And it really loomed over me and that worry weighed down on me and now that it’s come true I’m just super sad.

I’ve literally owned a pet every single day of my life for 34 years.

(my childhood dog, Buffy)

I’ve never had one day of non-pet ownership.

So this is a new era for me. For the kids.

I know this phase of life it just doesn’t make sense for us to add a pet. Logically we simply travel too much.

But it’s still a void that I’ve never had before!

Zach and I discussed it and agree that the day for pets will come again, not right now, but eventually (probably about the time Spear goes to school b/c y’all know I will NEED something to LOVE ON all day!).

So while we say goodbye to Levi we also say goodbye to Parker Family Pets for now too.

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