to drive away many shadows…🌻
~St. Francis of Assisi
Way back in the day teen heartthrob Donny Osmond crooned out his hit song Puppy Love. (Way before my time…I was but a youth…Ok, you caught me…it was my first 45 purchased with my birthday $ for my tenth birthday!) Young girls went crazy for him and for that song in particular. Nowadays if you go see him in concert not much has changed, except for the fact that those “teens” are now middle-aged gals who transform back into their dreamy-eyed teeny-bopper selves when Donny teases the opening bars to that particular song.
Ahhh puppy love… that euphoric feeling of a first crush. A powerful sort of love reserved only for the very young.
Or is it?
(use your best Keith voice…)
There is a type of joy that is akin to that happy “newly in love” feeling of youth. Don’t believe me? Just snuggle a puppy and you can’t help but feel it.
And they call it…
(I know quoting Donny’s lyrics was lame.)
Previously, I’ve shared about the many pets I had growing up and the tremendous blessing they were in my life. (Gimme Shelter Oct.2015) To be accurate, I said some of my best friends were animals-and some of my family members were too! (Still the truth any way you slice it).
Poster: Oriental Trading Co.
Horses, cows, cats, dogs-it’s all the same. Good day? Your pet is always there. Bad day? Your pet is always there. Mediocre day? You get my drift…. With happy spirits and unconditional love, pet family members have provided countless hours of companionship, comfort, and the best part-humor.
Sylvester & Tweety
That’s not to say I haven’t done my share of complaining about my diva cat Jellybean, or rambunctious dogs that bark out trouble at every mailman, school kid, and squirrel. I’ve done that. Like Dr. Dolittle I talk to the animals-albeit sometimes in a caterwauling or barking tone of voice. 😼🐶 But pets being who they are, never respond in kind. (There’s that example of pets and unconditional love again.)
Bailey & Zoey BFF’S
Of course animals are a huge responsibility and it’s not all fun and games. Animals can be hard work–but as we all know, anything worthwhile is. And they give so much back, it really can’t be compared to what we do for them.
This year has tested my puppy-love to the breaking point. In February our senior dog Bailey suffered a stroke and had to be put down on her 13th Birthday. She had exhibited all the old-age infirmities so we knew her time was limited, but it was so hard to let her go. As we returned home it felt different. Empty. Quiet. So many fun memories with our family revolved around her presence.
Her spirit was sorely missed in our home, and we grieved our loss. Luckily, Zoey our Maltipoo cheered us with her exuberant nature-even as she grieved her own loss. Spending time with Zoey helped us in our reminiscences about the two of them together. The doggy road trips, meandering walks and swims along the Boise river, their silly canine hi-jinks. We were able to laugh and be grateful for the time we shared and the happy memories.
Mindful she was adjusting to a new normal, we took Zoey to the drive-in, on car rides, played hours of fetch, and tried to ease her loss even as she comforted ours.
Suddenly, last week we noticed a stumble here-a wobble there. Goofball. What was she up to? A day or so later a fall and some twitching. My daughter promptly took Zoey into the vet, where she on-cue exhibited no symptoms at all so the doc prescribed steroid therapy. Slight improvement and then more aggressive issues and rapid decline. Meds were changed, daily vet contact and still no answers. What was happening to Zoey?
Imagine our shock when one week after her first symptom we had to release her from this life by euthanasia. A mere 3 months after we had lost Bailey. Bailey to old age and a stroke, and Zoey-full of life and playful a week ago-seemingly to a brain tumor.
It’s nothing we could have imagined, and yet even in death we felt as if Bailey had gone on ahead to prepare us for the quick and unexpected demise of Zoey.
Picture credits: Rescue Angels, Inc.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, All Dogs Go To Heaven…(ok, so I stole it from a movie-still true!) Today we feel the peace of sister dogs reunited, playing together in heavenly fields, chasing squirrels and freed from pain.
As raw as we feel, and even though we never want to go through this again (in theory), We know we happily will. Because having them in our lives was so worth it. One day soon this heartache will heal and we will adopt a new pet family member. In fact, we’re thinking maybe two. Sisters. Just like Bailey, Zoey, and all those beloved family pets that have gone on before. Why put yourself through it you ask?
A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself.
One day I noticed that although my jeep looked good from afar, up close it was covered in sticky muck, and layers of dirt had settled in upon that. Yuck! When had it gotten so filthy? I just love my jeep, but I don’t have the cool kind that looks even better with an inch of mud splatter on it. Even the neighborhood kitty had stopped leaving his signature paw-print trail in the dust. Time to go to the car wash.
Luckily, I have a car wash that is freaking awesome, so I set out mentally singing, or maybe not just mentally-more like belting out-my car wash song. Which just so happens to be that groovy 70’s hit cleverly named Car Wash. (I’m deep like that.)
No line at the old Speedy Bee-Bonus! I decided to go all out with the $12 wash. Next is the tough part. The coveralled attendant gives hand motion signals like he’s landing a plane-and all I have to do is get my tire in the track. Not as easy as it seems. The red/yellow/green light-up board takes it from there. The problem is, the ground traffic controller doesn’t even make eye contact. He is on auto-pilot, so I have to navigate carefully so as not to hit him, all the while hanging my head out the window like a shaggy dog…because it’s tricky and I’m not always the best driver. Finally green-lighted and Jeep in neutral, I’m on my way. It’s dark as a tomb. As the colorful neon magic soap squirts all over my window I can’t see a thing. That always gives me a little silly feeling in my stomach, partly because I’m claustrophobic, and partly because I’m not the one in control of the car. And I am all about control.
As the car moves forward I’m able peek through some of the foam, but not well enough to see what’s coming next. Floppy mop things flap against my car, and a steady cascade of water trickles down.
Rub a dub-dub. I still can’t see the end of the line.
Next, a monsoon of water comes pouring down, now I’m apparently in the rinse cycle. Slippy slippy slidey. Then some sort of waxing agent causes the water to bead up all over the surface. Then a final rinse, and high powered blowdryers buffet the car.
The water droplets disburse off the window and I am now able to see directly ahead of me. Like a porthole. Ahhh-let there be light! Chug, chug. A bit more patience and one final push and I’m finally at the exit. But I’ve got a red-light.
Wait for it…wait for it…green-light! All systems go! Because if you don’t go, you will be playing bumper cars with the cars behind you.
(Don’t ask me how I know that-I just know.)
Then zip around the corner and snag my vacuum cubby to finish the “inside” job.
As I remove the mats, vacuuming and spiffing up the interior, I notice this old jeep cleans up pretty well!
I’m fond of my jeep. Like an old friend. Puts up with me even when it’s grimy and neglected-and still performs the dailies with no complaint.
Me? Not so much.
Because sometimes my life can be like my old jeep. Everybody’s life, really. Messy. Layers of debris clutter up till we finally take notice that we need to deal with it. Then we have to ACT-staying in that same condition is simply not an option.
So then it’s cleanse mode. We need to infuse the good and happy, but first we have to chip away at those old layers of dirt. To start with, we have to align our course in the right direction. Then we have to be patient through all the steps. Scrubbing away at the old to reveal something better. To complicate matters, we can’t see ahead-so it’s one foot in front of the other until the light pokes through incrementally, and we can see that we are indeed on the right track. It seems tedious and takes way longer than it should. Then one day, we emerge into the sunlight. Restored and bright and shiny and renewed.
Ready to go wherever the road may take us.
Dirt’s gonna fly. It’s simply a fact of life. And sadly, some of that dirt’s gonna stick to us.
But when it does, we can know without a doubt that with time-a little patience (or lots)-and some mental elbow grease, it will all come out in the wash.