I wouldn’t say I’m a dog lover, exactly, though I’ve always preferred dogs to cats. I am a dog liker. They’re nice and all, but for the most part, I don’t go out of my way for them.
Meet Blarney, our goldendoodle, whose fifth birthday is today.
If you’ve read some of our story, then you know that we had twin daughters who died five years ago. Not long after their death, we learned that one of our children was assaulted by a relative while staying overnight at their home during one of my many hospitalizations for our twins. The worst things that you fear might happen to your children happened to us over the course of just a few months. The year 2011 left our family wounded and broken in a way that had me feeling like someone was holding my head underwater and I couldn’t come up for air. I wanted to take the five of us and hide us away in a bunker somewhere where nothing could hurt us again.
My mama heart was broken, and my arms ached for my babies to hold, but they were buried a few miles away. My child who was hurt asked if we could please get a dog, and I wanted nothing more than to comfort him in any way I could. I thought a new puppy might be just the thing that would bring us healing.
But I was not exactly right.
Sure, having a tiny puppy to cuddle and play with did bring us joy in a way that only a new puppy can. But that puppy was not my babies, and there were times when I resented her for that fact. I didn’t want her, I wanted them. And our children were too little to help with any of the work involved in raising a puppy, so that work fell to me. Another creature who ate and pooped and needed discipline and training when I could barely drag my grieving self out of bed and get through each day was not the blessing I imagined it might be.
She gets car sick, she sheds unbelievable amounts of hair, she takes off like a bolt of lightning anytime she gets the chance, she tries to eat the chickens, she barks at everything and nothing, and she’s a bit of a spaz whenever anyone comes to the door, so happy to welcome them that she pees on the floor as a greeting (every. single. time.). We have enough people chaos around here that sometimes the addition of doggie chaos is a frustration.
Over the years, though, this sweet pup has been our faithful friend. She is always grateful for any amounts of affection we might be able to muster for her at the end of our long, busy day. She is always happy to see us when we get back from any time we spend away from the house. She’s learned to live with our loudness and our mess and the additions of new babies to the family. She just loves us and wants us to love her.
And, as I think back over the last five years, I realize that her sweet face has brought us a lot of joy and comfort, and possibly even healing. It may not have happened as quickly as I hoped it would when we first brought her home, but she is such a part of our family now that it’s hard to imagine these last five years without her.
If there’s one dog that I love, it’s this one.