Embracing Chaos | Opinion

Sebastian. Photo via Brian McNaught, Facebook.

When Ray and I made the decision to have a puppy join us in our final years, we were conscious of the chaos doing so would include. Our floors are covered with large diaper pads and more than a dozen toys. When Sebastian playfully sinks his tiny shark teeth into our arm, or a chair leg there needs to be a toy or chew stick within arm’s reach to distract him.

It would be a lie to say we were fully prepared for all the poop and pee a puppy can produce in a 12-hour period, nor how we would need to live in shifts, with one keeping the puppy occupied while the other showered. But what we did look forward to and are enjoying is creating for this new creature the experience of unconditional love, and the joy of seeing life through the lenses of his new green eyes.

Everything is a discovery with Sebastian, from jumping into the Middle River to hearing thunder for the first time. Because he’s a smart dog, he learns quickly from his mistakes, but we pay close attention to what he sees and how he reacts. He’s just 13 weeks old, so he’s negotiating with life without bias. “What do I feel about the sound of the air blower?” “Am I comforted by the sound of the dishwasher?”

His gift to us is us being given another opportunity to explore our senses without prejudice. As long as we try to see things through the sight, smell, sound, taste and touch of the baby dog, we get another chance in this life to experience the world around us with no bias.

You may be scratching your head wondering why two guys in their 70s, both with debilitating physical challenges, would choose to take on the domestication of an untamed baby beast. We’ve done so consciously wanting to have another crack at creating an environment where a new sentient being experiences abundant love, and we get the opportunity to search within ourselves for the unconditional love that is familiar to us.

Older and younger gay and transgender people share a lot in common, but the question of what you’re going to focus on in the last 15 years of your life is something older gay and straight people share. Ray and I loved our life of solitude tucked away in our little Garden of Eden, and we could have coasted to the finish line, but we’re both adventurous souls and turning a sharp-toothed, curious, poop machine puppy into a new member of our family felt like it was worth giving up the peace and order of our lives. 

My memoir is finished and will be available in nine months. Its name is “A Prince of a Boy – How One Gay Catholic Helped Change the World.” Sebastian’s will be next, “A Prince of a Pooch – How One Aussiedoodle Helped Change the World of Brian and Ray.”


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