November 14, 2012

Smile Pretty

Growing up we always had a dog. Sometimes two.  Our dogs were always a part of our family.  They slept in bed with my parents, laid on our couches and snuggled with us.  They were always given food from our table and even had their own stockings at Christmas time. 

When I married, our first “child” was a Labrador named Brandy.  She literally was my first born.  She welcomed her “sister” Ashley in 2001 and when I was expecting her “brother” Colton, she was diagnosed with cancer.  We had just returned from vacation, and she would not eat and would throw up if she drank water.  Her neck was swollen and we took her to the Emergency Room.  After several blood tests, they told us she had cancer.  There was little hope that treatments would work, as they felt the cancer was advanced.  She was 8 years old.  We had to put her to sleep one month before Colton was born.  It w as literally the hardest thing I had ever done in my life.  I’m crying as I type this out.  I miss her every day.  She was the best dog ever.  She will always be my first baby.



After losing Brandy, I swore I’d never get another dog.  I couldn’t imagine experiencing that loss again.  I couldn’t imagine loving another animal that way I loved her. 

My parents insisted that children needed to grow up with a pet.  They always thought it was horrible that I wouldn’t get them another dog.  I justified in my head that my kids were always around my parent’s dogs, and were experiencing the connection with them.  They have never been fearful of dogs, knew to respect them and knew not to bother them while eating, drinking, etc.  Being socialized with animals is important, but I felt they were getting it with Grandma and Grandpa’s dogs.

When I got sick and was having chemo treatments, I would think about having a dog.  How much I missed the unconditional love that Brandy gave me.  She protected me and made me feel loved, especially when no one else was around.  She was my company.  Ashley had been begging for a dog for years.  Colton had jumped on the band wagon too.  It was getting harder and harder to just say no. 

In September of 2010, after winning my battle with cancer, I realized we needed something fresh and new in our lives.  Our household had been through one hellish year and my kids needed to have something to distract them, and to make them happy again. We found this cute baby girl – or as I like to say – she picked up.  All the others ran away, but not her.  She planted herself at my feet, ready to go home.  We named her Malibu.



Malibu has brought so much happiness and craziness to our house.  She is a lover and a fighter.  She steal socks, chews on paper, loves to take us for walks, chases squirrels, barks at her shadow and gives us more love than I ever thought imaginable.  The moment I walk in the house, she is at my side.  She sleeps in my lap all evening, she is my heating pad. 

The other day, after a particular crappy day, she was lounging on the couch just staring at me.  I said to her “Malibu do you love momma?” She looked at me, and a small smile appeared on her face.  Yes – she does love me.  My crappy day seemed not so crappy anymore.


Malibu – momma loves you.  You bring so much happiness to my world.  Thanks for picking us.

Do you have a dog?  Is your dog your baby?  Do you get smiles from your baby?


Cindy said...

How sweet is Malibu, and I know how you feel about Brandy, too. So glad you caved! We caved 2 years ago when I found Lucky. Before kids we had Cocoa and Cola...Cocoa was more "mine" and my first kid. Lucky has brought us soooooo much joy and the kids were involved in the whole process and take care of him, too!! Great post!

Amber K said...

Ahh this post made me tear up! We've always had dogs too. My husband and I adopted two dogs last summer. They are definitely our babies. Our girl was just diagnosed with epilepsy and it's still breaking my heart. I hate seeing them sick :( I definitely know they love me, based on the number of kisses I'm given every day, haha.

Angie said...

I loved this post! We don't have any animals because frankly I'm too tired to have to take care of anything else. I used to have a dog when I was younger though. He was a boxer and he was definitely my best friend. Malibu is precious!!!

Nicole said...

Dogs are the bestestestestestestestest! :). I've grown up around dogs and not having one would feel weird/wrong. I couldn't have them in college and it sucked! I have a Yellow Lab and a Cocker Spaniel. We had an Australian Shepherd but she got stolen a few weeks ago. Bad deal! Now we have this male dog who keeps coming around and is skin and bones but he's gone by morning.

Debbie said...

Malibu is so cute. I love her smile!!

My fur baby is Harley, she is an 80lb German Shepherd. I'm so so glad that we have her.
My husband got her as a puppy and when he died suddenly she was only 9 months old. A wild 9 month old dog and my grief didn't mix, so I almost gave her back to the breeder. My girls were a hot mess at that idea, so I decided we would keep her. I got an electric fence in my yard since she kept running away to look for him, I hired a trainer, and spent more time with her. We all formed a bond with her and I couldn't imagine us without her. She thinks she is a lap dog, but she is a fierce protector of us girls. I am so thankful for her!! My instagram is full of pictures of her, because she is just so darn cute. :)
Pets are the best!!

Faith said...

I think I like you more today! This post just made me smile. Those pictures!! My heart melts.

I know exactly what you mean because as I type this I have my dog sleeping on my lap. They really bring so much joy and happiness. And she def smiles at me :)