A much-loved Tale by Megan Huebsch of Max and Willow

I’m that crazy dog lady. The one who greets pets before humans, finds a dog to chat to at that awkward social gathering, and somehow, the one who lands up running down a main road trying to catch a stranger’s dog that got loose (a. I don’t run and b. this has happened on more than one occasion so it’s definitely become a thing).

Now that that’s out the way, let me tell you about us. When I was younger I never pictured that at 28 I’d have an “us” quite like this. I always dreamed that by now I’d have 2.5 kids with my engineer husband living it up in suburbia Cape Town. Instead, I married the love of my life, Carl, an art teacher by day and struggling artist by night. We live a cool 749.4km East of Cape Town in the city where we fell in love 7 years ago, Port Elizabeth. It’s an interesting place to raise two kids – the furry kind. Yes, I just referred to my dogs as my children.

Although I can’t say I’ve ticked the boxes of my once Stepford Wife dream life, I’ve envisioned new dreams and boxes, and have fulfilled them unknowingly. My former wish of having 2.5 (human) kids has actually caused quite a storm in my future planning. I never expected to be so content with having dogs in lieu of furless children. It’s a big stretch – the difference between raising a human and raising a puppy (said every human baby owner ever). Sleepless nights, potty training, growth spurts, mood swings, medical aid, daycare, learning manners, overcoming illness… it all rings true to dog owners too! I still remember the day Carl and I spoke out loud that we were a family… together in this with our girls we could tackle anything.

You see, Max came into our lives like a hurricane. Riddled with fleas and worms, her first night with us saw her tiny body crawling with pests. By some miracle we managed to pick every single flea off her body and rid her of worms shortly after. I had regret creeping to the surface but not for long, because I fell madly in love with her that night – My Max Girl she became. Suffice to say, my husband wasn’t very pleased with me when I brought home a broken bundle of fur on the first day of his new job. Fast forward three years and they’re as thick as thieves; a proper daddy and daughter duo. It’s hard to get in sometimes!

I didn’t realise how much I needed her. My anxiety was at a peak and I was filled with cracks yet somehow, she just knew how to fill them. And she did so seamlessly. She is responsible for my sanity and insanity at times!

If Max was a hurricane, then Willow can only be a tsunami. We didn’t realise how much of an easy dog she had been up until we got Willow. Willow is everything that Max isn’t which is what we adore about her, but she was a struggle to say the least. She is the typical annoying younger sister who wants nothing more than to be wherever her big sister is. It is clear she hero-worships Max on an unhealthy level. If Max sniffs a blade of grass, Willow will bolt toward it to investigate. Is it a threat or is it something deliciously edible? We never know sometimes. There is no balance with her – it is all or nothing. Fiercely loving, outspoken and brave, she has taught Max to be more playful and less of a b****.

Without my girls, I never would have discovered the beautiful Benji + Moon. The most exquisite brand whose products I take pride in them wearing. I adore that they uplift their community and give back with every purchase made. I’m a huge champion for female owned and run businesses.

Despite the sandy floors, hairy jeans, chewed up socks, and other damaged investments, I would not change one single thing about it all. The Stepford Wife in me sometimes surfaces with her germaphobe indignance, angry at the dirty mess, but she gets tucked away by slobbery kisses, snorts and grunts, arrooos and borks, and heartfelt cuddles on the couch every night.

Through it all we’ve grown immensely as individuals and as a family. We’ve made so many incredible friends and have discovered a community that we actually feel we belong to.

Without a doubt, our lives are richer in love and fur.

- Megan Huebsch of Max & Willow



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