Puppy Love

This…is Doby Digital.  He’s cute, isn’t he?  Well, this was my loyal friend for 16 years.  

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In March of 2017, I took Doby to the vet for a check-up since he was acting more sluggish than usual and learned he had a tumor in his stomach that had spread. There were no options and he was in terrible pain.  I made the decision to put him to sleep that same day. I held his face in my hand and talked sweet nothings in his ear until his last breath then fell to the floor with tears. I remember the nurse coming in and all I could muster up was the phrase “what now?  I just leave?”.  Her nod “yes” felt so final, so definite.  I had never left Doby anywhere in my life. Now, I had to return home to my family and break the news that Doby had left us.  To this day, my heart bleeds when I think about that day.  I’m not trying to make you cry.  I promise this story gets better.  But bare with me for a minute…I called Jack on the way home to give him a heads up. Later that night, after the initial tears stopped, Jack came to me and said, “I have to show you something.” He hands me his phone and it’s a pet adoption site with this pup named Benny. 

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It was like I was looking at a mini version of my boy, Doby, and my initial reaction was rage.  HOW DARE he even think I am capable of this information right now.  I just walked away with tears and collapsed in my pillow.  For a week, I walked around lost.  Doby went everywhere with me. He has since the first day I adopted that little potato.  Now, I just felt empty.  Finally, two weeks went by and I couldn’t stop thinking about that picture of this cute, little Doby wanna-be.  I went back and forth with myself.  Is it too soon?  Would this dog ever measure up?  Would I be able to love any dog like Doby?  How could I even consider replacing him?  My righteous nature kept Benny at bay as long as I could stand it, then I caved.  Let’s meet him. 

When he came over to meet us, I couldn’t hardly look at him.  EVERYTHING about him was a shrunken version of MY PUP.  I could not believe it.  While they looked so similar, Benny was young and spry, the way I remember Doby was before age started to catch up with him.  I remember feeling bitter and a tad bummed that I had to “settle” for a new dog. Everyone else was over the moon.  The kids loved that he would chase them.  Jack loved that he could play fetch.  I was still smiling through gritted teeth feeling like I was cheating on my true love. Then…Benny did his tricks. 

I had to give it to him.  Doby never was much for doing anything I ever told him to do unless there was a massive bone awaiting his completion.  So, when this pup did it just because….I was impressed.  I started to lighten up and join in.  By the time the visit ended, I knew this lively little guy belonged in our home.  A week later, tricks and all, Benny became a McCann.  He was fun and loving, and excited.  I had one more thing I needed to do before I completely gave in.  

One night when the kids went to bed, I sat on the porch with Benny.  He curled in my lap and I leaned down to his ear.  I said, “Benny, an old friend of mine took a big piece of my heart when he left.  I know you can’t ever replace him, but I would love if you could help me fill that hole back in.  I know Doby wouldn’t want me to be alone so I think that’s why you are here.  He was a good pup.  He gave me his best for a long time and I will never forget the love he gave me.  You love me, I’ll love you back with all I have. I hope it’s enough for both of us. Deal?”  Benny stared me in the eyes the entire time then licked me and just went to sleep. 

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I guess you can say I am a sucker for Puppy Love. It’s that innocent kind of love, infatuation mostly, but its pure.  He needed us and we ALL needed him.  He came into my life at a time when I thought I would be broken forever.  Funny thing, LIFE seems to do this to us often.  We think one thing is EVERYTHING, and if we lose it we feel like we can never have it again.  I am so glad I was wrong on this one. I was SOOOO very, very, wrong.

Oh and this crazy story isn’t over yet…On July 4th, 2017, we got another “Fur Baby Surprise” in the most patriotic of ways.   We started to head home from a BBQ with the kids and friends.  It is dark.  Fireworks still popping over all of Los Angeles.  Darting through the street is this hideous ball of fur that smelled like road kill.  She was in a state of panic and I knew if we left her, she would be hit.  We put her in our hatchback, noticed no collar, and stared at each other.  

Jack gave me the look….I knew what he was thinking…2 kids, 1 dog, AND A CAT.  He did not want her to come home.  As we sat in the front of the car contemplating, I noticed there wasn’t even a peep coming from the back.  The kids had passed out and this pitiful pup was very quiet.  I got out to check her, and she was just sitting straight up, smiling with a face only a mother could love, and happy to be away from the loud booms.  I knew what I had to do….I very lovingly told my husband how good of a man he was and that surely we had enough love for just ONE MORE.  He agreed that if she wasn’t chipped and no one claimed her, we could keep her.  Guess what?  No one claimed her; she wasn’t chipped; those crooked teeth were just bad genes.  She was ALL OURS!  The kids felt she looked like Lady Glitter Sparkle from Trolls…

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I guess I see the resemblance, but I love that crooked smile so much I can’t even tell you.  She may have a face that only a mother could love, but I gladly accepted that role.  She’s got all kinds of issues: bad teeth, allergies, definitely some PTSD from living on the streets of Compton, but she’s always thankful and gentle with the kids. Benny loves her.  It’s a good fit and I have found Puppy Love yet again…this time it took TWO sweet pups, instead of one to fill up my void. 

If you have a Fur Baby, squeeze them tight today.  They are here to fill a void in your life and when needed the most, they find you. That is their mission from above. Their time on earth is shorter than yours, so pay attention. They resonate through touch, emotion, energy, and heart, not through the luxury of words like man.  Doby taught me the importance of companionship and timeless love.  Benny and Lady have taught me resilience and that I have infinite love to give which is crucial to my full potential.  I know I can’t keep them forever, but I can cherish their lessons for all my days.  Cheers to the Fur Babies everywhere, past and present, who came into our life to soften our hearts.  I’m quite the sap now and forever in a state of Puppy Love. 

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One thought on “Puppy Love

  1. How ironic this pops up right as I post about my shelter volunteering starting today in honor of Skip who had a cancerous stomach tumor and crossed the rainbow bridge exactly two months ago today. Love your story and could not agree more. CHERISH THEM. x

    Like

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