“No matter how close we are to another person, few human relationships are as free from strife, disagreement, and frustration as is the relationship you have with a good dog. Few human beings give of themselves to another as a dog gives of itself. I also suspect that we cherish dogs because their unblemished souls make us wish - consciously or unconsciously - that we were as innocent as they are, and make us yearn for a place where innocence is universal and where the meanness, the betrayals, and the cruelties of this world are unknown.” ― Dean Koontz
Every single night since the difficulties I am currently dealing with started, I have had two loving shadows. As you probably know- I am the "Mommy" to two very sweet dogs. Harley and Auggie came into my life via the Animal Care Society, Louisville's first no-kill shelter. Harley came to us first in March of 2008. She's a Yorkie/Schnauzer mix who is currently about 9 years old. Auggie came to us a little later- in December of 2009. He is about 5 years old. I cannot tell you how much joy they have brought to my life.
You cannot convince me that our dogs cannot sense when things aren't right. For the past two months, every evening Auggie has ensconced himself in my lap. He was always the "love-muffin" of the two but now even more so. When I am upset or feeling down or in a flare, he will jump up on my lap and stretch himself up, front paws on my shoulder and rub his face on mine lay his head on my shoulder. He won't move until I rub and pet him and tell him that "it's okay". He will then curl up and not move until bed time if I let him. Even Harley- our stand-offish little girl- has been a lap puppy of late. She will wander over, ease up (she has arthritis in her back) and put her paws on the arm of the chair to let me know that she want's up. Because of my RA/Fibro and her arthritis I have to stand up, pick her up and then sit down with her on one leg so she can stay stretched out. This means displacing Auggie to get her up and settled. He will stand at the bottom of the chair and watch until she is settled and then jump back up and take the other leg. There's nothing like twenty five pounds of puppy on each leg expecting you to pet them. As I sit there, stroking their fur from nose to tail, I can't help but let go of all of my worries and allow the repetitive motion, the wiry feel of Harley's coat and the silky feel of Auggie soothe me. Harley will stay just long enough to feel me relax and then, as if her job is done, she will hop down and either lay at my feet, beside my chair or in her bed. Auggie will stay until I have to get up again and then pop up to the arm of the couch, both of them keeping an eye on me.
When it's time for bed, whether I "announce" it or just go around shutting of the lights, tv and PC they both follow me through the house and up to the bedroom. They always were welcome on the bed and now is not any different. But where they used to sleep either stretched down our legs, both at the foot of the bed or Auggie at the foot and Harley underneath the bed, now they both want up and Auggie will start where I can pet him and inch his way up until he's almost at my head and Harley will ease up my thigh using my hip as a pillow. It's as if they are saying "we are here and we love you."
If you are not a dog (or pet) person, I don't know how to explain the unconditional love that adopting a dog will bring to your life. When I walk into the house after a day at work they run to the door and bark with joy to see me. Auggie will stretch up to my knee for a "hug" and I cannot move until I give him one. Harley will run and bring me a toy to say "I am so glad to see you, I brought you a present!" When I say the word "walk" they bark with glee and run to the door to wait for their leashes. When I say "ride" they nearly jump for joy in anticipation. When I say "treat"- they run to "their" shelving unit and wiggle their bums until they receive their treat. You cannot help but smile at each and every one of the ways that they show their different personalities.
Every night, when I am sending up prayers, I give thanks that I was lucky enough to find these two fur-babies and bring them into my home and life. They keep me going when I want to give up. They give me love no matter how cranky I am. They make me feel needed when I feel useless. They are the biggest constant in my life and i will forever be grateful for them.