Two on earth, a sweet baby in heaven… and a dog?
“Are we really going to sit here and watch her chew on her bone all night?” My husband asked, as we sat on the floor next to our newly adopted German shepherd mix, Lana. I nodded my head and replied, “Yeah, I think so.” I smiled at her as she happily gnawed on her bone, blissfully unaware of what my husband, Brian and I were feeling.
This was a first for us. To be still, soaking up the moment we were in. After our daughter passed away, it hurt too much to be still. There were too many hard thoughts that would race through our minds when things slowed down. So we kept busy, found distractions, and tried our best to keep moving. Suddenly, we found ourselves being more present than we had been in months and it was all because of a dog.
I thought it was somewhat bizarre. We lost our first and only child. We held her, loved on her, then buried her. How was a dog, of all things, making my pain a little softer? How was a dog changing the way I live my life?
To be honest with you, I never really wanted a dog. I adored the dog I grew up with, and Brian and I frequently went to pet adoption events to love on the animals there. But the thought of a single dog hair finding it’s way onto my new sectional was just too much for me. I didn’t want to be the girl who had to lint roll her whole body every morning before work. I didn’t want to deal with slobbery mouths, potty accidents on my carpet, or chewing on furniture. It was my husband who relentlessly pleaded that I would change my stance. His eyes would glisten with pure joy every time we would play with the dogs from our local shelter. Every time we saw our neighbor walking his German Shepherd he would go on and on about how beautiful she was, and how he would just love to own one.
One night, as I scrolled through my Facebook feed, I came across a picture of a cute little German shepherd mix. She had the coloring and ears of a shepherd, with a few other features that what we assume to be from a pit bull. I showed Brian her picture, and told him she would be at an adoption event tomorrow. He really loved the German shepherd in her, but didn’t seem too interested.
The next morning, Brian hopped out of bed and immediately started getting showered and dressed. He was rushing me to get up, so we could leave quickly. This was not typical Saturday behavior for us, so I asked, “Where exactly are we going?” He looked at me like he couldn’t believe I even needed to ask. “The adoption event! Duh!”
As we drove into the city he explained it was important that we get there early, so if we want to adopt Lana we would be the first in line to get her. I was still confused as to how we just went from looking at a picture on Facebook to discussing actually adopting a dog. I wasn’t really expecting this kind of a response.
We walked into the store where the event was being held, and Brian immediately begins scanning the room, searching for Lana. I made him stop at every dog we saw, making sure we didn’t pass up one we loved. Each dog was incredibly sweet but they all seemed to lack a quality or two we were looking for. Finally, we came up to Lana, the last dog in the room. I stuck my hand out to let her sniff me, and she immediately plopped down, rolled on her back and began begging for a belly rub. “Oh, no.” I thought. This dog was making quite a first impression. As soon as Brian started loving on her, I knew I was in trouble. We were about to become dog owners.
I immediately began asking her Foster Dad a million questions. I was certain there was going to be a red flag. “Does she get on the furniture?” “No, we don’t let her and she doesn’t try.” “Does she chew up the furniture?” “No, she usually sticks to only chewing her toys.” “Is she potty trained and housebroken?” “She’s 90% of the way there with potty training but she’s housebroken.” I was getting ready to ask how she was with strangers when a huge crowd of people and children walked into the room. She was incredibly docile and sweet as they came up and started petting her. She didn’t jump on anyone (a huge pet peeve of mine), and didn’t get aggressive in anyway. She was so gentle with everyone.
I couldn’t find a single solid reason to say no to adopting her. So I looked at Brian and said, “You want her?” And the rest is history.
It’s been two full weeks now, and she’s adjusting nicely. Her time as a stray roaming the streets was not the kindest to her, but she’s on the mend and still a very loving pup.
Somehow, she’s managed to make really happy people out of Brian and I, and it’s a welcome change. She’ll never truly know how much she means to us, but we’ll do our best to tell her with belly rubs and dog treats!
We’re so glad you’re here, Lana!