Prompted by a comment from a long-time reader a few weeks back, today I decided to focus my post on our fifth family member, our much loved Asha. Having shared a photo of Grace and her 'best friend' to accompany my thoughts on 'capturing the now', I felt bad that someone so familiar with my blog wasn't aware we had a dog...
For years before we had children, Asha was our baby. We brought her home as a sweet little puppy... a typical Blue Heeler who nipped at our heels, dug holes in the garden we were working so hard to beautify and who tore my brand new dress off the washing line and ripped it to shreds. Sunday walks at the Leighton dog beach or along the river were planned with Asha's needs in mind. She joined us on several holidays to Esperance, had her own impressive 'collection' of stuffed toys and was regularly bought bones and other special treats.
When I fell pregnant with Grace, it was as though Asha could sense something. She would no longer jump up excitedly when I was around and became my little shadow. One morning early in my pregnancy, I experienced a frightening amount of bleeding. Terrified I was losing our baby, I sat on the couch alone and sobbed. Asha padded over to me and affectionately rested her head on my lap as a show of comfort, as though she shared my pain and worry. I'll never forget that sweet gesture.
Slowly, our life began to change. Grace came along and no longer was Asha our number one. Folders of 'Asha' photos gave way to newborn snapshots. I became more bothered by dog hair. Visits to Leighton were few and far between. However, over time, what she lacked in attention from us, was more than made up for with the companionship of Grace. With the addition of Sophie, Asha's playmates doubled. The less frequent long walks, regular brushing and buying of treats is nowadays well and truly made up for by being chased around the yard and cuddled non-stop by our two girls who both jostle for the honour of being allowed to feed their beloved doggy.
Last night, as Paul was opening the back door to go put out the bins, Grace chased after him with a picture. He assumed it was one of her artworks she was insisting he put in his car and bring to work.
"Daddy, can you peg this up on the tree next to Asha's kennel? I've drawn a picture for her," she explained.
It seems that concern is shown not only for her comfort, but also for the attractiveness of her sleeping space. While she may not be the main subject of my photography these days, nor as spoilt as she once was, Asha is is loved now more than ever and such an important member of our family.