Do you remember the first moment you ever laid eyes on the dog that soon would become a member of your household? You probably instantly fell in love. In that moment, you knew he/she was coming home with you no matter what.
THAT was YOUR fur baby, and nobody else’s.
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Do you remember the day you brought your fur baby home? You laid alongside them on the floor watching them excitedly slide across the floors as they ran around becoming comfortable in their new home. Or maybe they were nervous, timid, and needed a little extra love, to be nuzzled closely and assured that this would be their forever home.
And behind all the cuteness, all the dog walks, sloppy kisses, and puppy training sessions, you may have had an idea – but you never could have fully imagined the REAL meaning that this relationship would give to your life. For every dog’s personality is unique, as is their pet parent. The unique and unforgettable bond that would be created between you and your new companion could never be fully understood until it had been experienced.
Did you know how much this dog would teach you about your life? Did you realize that almost instantly that dog would consider you its best friend? Did you realize it would become the companion you always wanted so badly that you never even realized you needed, that this dog would actually become YOUR best friend too? You may have even adopted your fur baby. And while some may say that you saved your dog’s life, the reality became that it was actually the other way around.
The Love Of A Dog
I’ll never forget the day that my family and I went puppy shopping. I couldn’t even contain my excitement, and the thought of this ACTUALLY happening felt pretty mind-blowing even as a young adult. After all, I had been wanting a puppy for as long as I could remember. And now my family finally decided we were ready to add a new member to the household. I still can remember my dad and I sitting on the floor, puppies surrounding us, little fluff balls of adorableness eager to play and get attention. But then there was Bailey. A black and white ball of fur, unlike his brothers and sisters who were cream, brown, and white. He kept hopping over to my dad, aimed straight for his shoelaces, and with one swift pull would tug at the laces and untie my dad’s sneakers. This continued for what felt like an hour, and each time my dad would re-tie his laces, Bailey would hop right back only to unite them again. And again… and again, each time being more aww-worthy than the time before. Within seconds, my dad (who ironically was the same person who was most resistant to getting a puppy for a myriad of “dad-like reasoning”) had a new best friend. This relationship saved my father from being the only male in our household, which I still believe to this day was the inevitable instant bond the two of them would forever share.
As a puppy, Bailey would fall asleep in our arms, making snoring sounds like a tiny piglet. He refused to sleep in his crate at night, EVERY night, and only ever wanted to just be alongside you. He would turn our house into a puppy race track almost every evening as he hilariously and energetically would run laps around our house and dining room table. He would let you kiss his face, and loved kissing yours back, and if you sang to him with a high pitched note, he never missed an opportunity to sing along with you. He supremely hated the placemat outside the door to the backyard and made sure to walk only the perimeter of said placemat every time, avoiding it at all costs. He loved trips in the car to visit Grandpa, and never hesitated to eat any of the ‘under the table treats’ he so often would serve up. And without fail, he would never ever miss a moment to greet you at the door.
Earlier this year, after 14 loving years, he crossed over the rainbow bridge, leaving my family completely and utterly heartbroken. Bailey’s love was incredible. Since his passing, I have reminisced in all the greatness that his companionship was, and still is within mine and my families hearts. I found peace in knowing the love that we showered him with, the home we gave him, and how it was always abundant in return. I found happiness and gratitude in thinking of the countless times he came to the rescue for my family and I. In our ugly moments, family disagreements, or when we were experiencing personal struggles, he would always comfort and love us without judgment.
After my long days at work, I would come home exhausted, and he easily would find ways to make me laugh. He kept me on my toes and taught me responsibility. And not just responsibility in the sense of taking care of something, but responsibility in a relationship. He taught me how to understand that in all moments when love is present, it is all the medicine you need. That love from someone who stays by your side every day, good or bad, never waivers in the eyes of your dog. So why should it be any different for humans in a relationship? Bailey reminded me that even when you have wounds, they can be licked and healed. That love picks right back up where it left off instantaneously, and the next moment can be just as fun as the moments before those difficult ones.
I reflect on this as a tribute to him, and as a tribute to all the fur babies that we so gratefully got to be parents to in their lives. But most importantly, to acknowledge what our dogs mean to us. How they affect our lives. How their lives imprint on our hearts.
For this is the love of dogs.