You had me at first “ruff”
Teaching me about true devotion.
And that love doesn’t have to hurt.
You have loved and accepted me for the human I am.
I’ve learned that fidelity is not meted out,
But flows from the heart like doves.
I rescued you, and in turn you rescued me.
I will fight for you like a mother dog!
Even if I’m just your accessory.
Can a soulmate have four paws?
I didn’t want a pet. I couldn’t keep a plant alive. But she had no place to go, a failed show dog. I was told she needed a “forever” home. Long-term wasn’t something I was good at.. Somehow I avoided getting married. I guess I didn’t want to do the dirty dishes. I wanted to get rid of the friend who kept calling me like a real estate agent. She promised to drive me to Connecticut to see the dog in need. Even buy me a tuna sandwich. I was in for trouble.
The breeder’s house was in a fancy suburban neighborhood, but it was small and crammed with with cages. Dozens of animals for sale. A dog pack was roaming around the living room. There were terriers of all sizes—each one jumped onto my lap flirting and begging to be rescued. Except for you.
Our first date didn’t go well. You hid under the couch and growled, pried out only with a slice roast beef. Afraid to leave. The cage you knew was a familiar misery. Liberation was more frightening. The breeder said, “Those dogs are like dumb blondes. She won’t go with just anyone. You’ve got to earn her love.” It was a line. But it turned out to be the truth.
I said to the breeder, “No thank you. It’s not the right time” as I turned on my heels to leave. But something pulled me to turn around. Perhaps it was those eyes. Those sad brown eyes haunted me. I scooped up the matted terrier as she flailed with all her might. I had changed my mind.
“It’s for a few days,” I said as we headed out the door, without even a Wee Wee pad. In a flash, she went from rags to my small apartment in New York City. Not exactly riches, but a dramatic improvement. I figured even if I wasn’t the perfect dog mother, she’s be better off. ( The ASPCA had turned me down for a canine ownership because of my inappropriate single lifestyle, but I was approved for senior cat adoption.)
I didn’t know what to feed her that first night. Chinese food! And thus began our partnership in steamed chicken (sauce on the side,) canine couture, and pink bows. It took many adjustments on both our parts, but we traveled our lives together for several years.
And then the illness struck. During a routine checkup, and the doctor found a tumor under her tail. We spent three months in and out of the animal hospital. I navigated her care as if she were a parent or spouse Fighting, negotiating and at times, yelling. Toys were replaced with pills and syringes. With an IV in her paw, my terrier lay in my arms until the sun came up. I bargained with God for one more day with my best friend. The prospect of losing her was imaginable. The profound emptiness. Somehow she battled and came through it.
Each day, look into those eyes that are filled with love and say, “Thank you. I am grateful.” It’s that grace of one more day. I don’t regret the invitations I declined to visit friends in exotic places. Not at all.
I am loved because I keep loving.
Happy Valentine’s Day my friends!