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?