Her name is Callie and I rescued her from an animal shelter nine years ago. She and her sister, 6 week old puppies were returned from a mean old man who took both of them for ONE WEEK and then returned them to the shelter because “they were too much trouble.” I guess I should be grateful to this guy because after all, that’s how Callie, my dog and I, met.
I was seated on the floor of the animal shelter when the woman in charge of the shelter put two puppies down on the floor with me. One was off eating electrical wires, the other one climbed into my lap and never left. I wanted to bring both the dogs home but my husband put his foot down on that idea. I couldn’t help myself, the little puppy that sighed after she snuggled into my lap was my dog forever. I’m sure her sister was a much braver dog, she probably goes for rides in cars and likes to explore things. My dog is happiest curled up next to me on the bed. She’s sensitive and intuitive. The other night I was sad and I was crying. Callie came on the bed and stood in front of me, licking my tears, kissing my face. I put my arms around her now gray and white neck and gave her a hug and we stayed like that for what seemed to be a long time. When I felt better, it looked as if she was smiling at me as she hopped down from the bed to happily lap up some water and go downstairs.
I’m Callie and I am a nine year old “mixed breed” or mutt as some would say and my mom is the best mom EVER. I’m her favorite child because she says that I just give unconditional love and my siblings are both teenagers and they have something called “attitude.” I don’t. I just love to lie on my mom’s bed and we talk and she rubs my belly and I lick her face. I know when she is sad so then I just go up to her and kiss her cheeks and she puts her arms around my neck and cries some more but it’s now like a happy cry. She doesn’t leave me alone all day and I’m so lucky. I’m a lazy dog and I definitely fit in with THIS family. My mom picked me, yes me and not my stupid sister at the shelter and it was love at first sight. I told my sister not to eat all the electrical wires there but she didn’t listen. Hey, sometimes my Mom and Dad say that about my HUMAN siblings too about how they “don’t listen.” I listen and I crawled right into my mom’s lap and stayed there and never left.
At meals, I always sit next to her, my chin rests on her leg. I don’t bark, she likes all her children to be polite but when I look into her loving eyes, she always cuts a piece of food (or 3) for me and hides it in her hand so Dad won’t see it even though everyone knows she does it and that she’s a sucker for me! My mom loves food and she shares, my new favorite are ginger snaps and my mom was surprised but I LOVE THEM. She puts half in her mouth and the other half she lets me have because I go right up her mouth and the cookie and eat it. We share. My mom was also surprised when I liked blueberries but she stopped letting me lick hand lotion off her hands because some mean woman at the vet’s office said it wasn’t healthy. Who does she think she is? It was good for my pretty coat of hair.
My mom and my sister always have a birthday party for me, every year on March 1st. They invite my good human friends Margaret and Christina and John, but my brother and father are NOT INVITED on purpose because they think it’s stupid. I don’t even care. I get presents and a special meal and they sing the “Happy Birthday Song.”
So, Dad, I know you are the alpha male but ‘ll tell you now, it’s not MY fault I shed so PLEASE put away those stupid sticky tape rolls and stop with the vacuuming already, that vacuum machine scares me and there’s only so much noise I can take. My mom now puts a clean sheet on top of the bed so we’re all happy.
My mom is the best; I love her and she loves me. There is nothing she wouldn’t do for me and there is nothing I wouldn’t do for her. It’s Love, True Love. Lick. Lick.
YES, it is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all. I remember asking my mother the same type of question when I was a teenager as we were walking from the hot, steamy parking lot to the beach’s entrance. I was 14 and I will never forget her answer. I asked “but what if something bad happens to the person you love?” She replied calmly: “You can’t be scared of everything. Some bad things will happen, but you have to take the chance. You don’t want to be alone forever.” She was right. Years later I went on to date my then boyfriend, now husband of 22 years. We have many wonderful memories together, we have two teenage children that we adore. I live in fear that something will happen to him or the children, the same fear that I feel for all the people I love. I worry, too, about my darling 8 and a half-year old dog.
There will be pain in our lives, devastation, loss. It comes with the territory. My father died almost 9 years ago. Do I miss him? Yes. Have I forgotten him? No. Is it still painful? Definitely. What I try to do now is focus on the good times we shared and the amazing love we had for each other. It takes time for pain to dissipate and really, it never goes away completely. As we all know, life is not safe. We all need to be grateful and appreciate what we have, every day, every moment if possible. Health is the most important thing we have, not money or fame or status. Love. True, unconditional love. It can be scary, it does mean you are taking a chance, it also means you need to trust. Sometimes, you just have to shut your eyes tight, take a chance, hold on tight to your loved one’s hands and jump.