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Monica Bielanko
A chronicle since 2005 of my marriage & move to Brooklyn in my twenties; becoming a mother in my thirties; moving to Pennsylvania and learning to amicably coparent after divorce in my forties while living 3 doors down from my ex-husband in a small country town.
That's What She Said
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Saturday
Apr052008

Brother & Sister

I don't know if I've shared this info before... but my best friend Natalie (nearly 20 years of friendship) and I adopted our dogs at the same time. I picked out my baby Max and she got her baby Sophie from the same litter. She had found the seller in the paper and we went to see the puppies together. At the time she wasn't sure whether she wanted a girl or a boy.

When we got to the place we met Max's Mom and Pop. There were three puppies left from a litter of eight or so. Max, Sophie and a yellow lab. Immediately I knew Max was the dog for me. I loved the little eight-week old fucker at first sight. Wanted to take him home right then and there. But I had told Natalie I would let her pick first, as she had done the research to find the litter. We played with the dogs and left. I went home that night praying to God she wanted the girl. Please, please, please let her pick the girl, I thought. That boy is mine. He belongs with me. I already knew I wanted to name him Max.

As it turns out, Natalie called and told me she and her boyfriend (now husband) had decided on the girl. I whooped for joy and immediately went to pick up my new baby Max. As I walked down the seller's driveway toward my car, holding Max like I was burping a baby, his sister (the one Natalie would soon adopt) followed us down the driveway crying. Max hung over my shoulder looking back at his sister and whimpering until the seller rushed out and swooped up the girl and returned to the backyard.

Shortly thereafter, Natalie adopted the girl and named her Sophie. Max rarely sees his sister, what with the move to New York and all. Even now that we live in the same city it's tough to carve out time to get together. But Natalie and her family went on vacation and left me to babysit Sophie and my God you would not believe the change in my young middle-aged man... You see, Max is not a dog's dog. Perhaps - no - I'm certain I've spoiled him. He's a people dog, I think he thinks he's human. Were you to tell him that he is, in fact, canine he would likely tell you to go fuck yourself.

But something amazing happens when Sophie is around. He knows. He knows he shared a womb with this dog. And he acts like a dog! He wrassles and plays and acknowledges that yes, there is another dog in the room. He recognizes his sis. It's the only explanation for his complete change of personality when Miss Sophie is on the premises. Today I snapped some of my favorite photos I've ever taken.