I have this beautiful girl in my life. She is my constant. She loves me like no one else, is always happy to see me and somehow knows just what to do whenever I am feeling blue. She is my companion, my protector, my goof, my comfort and yes, sometimes my headache too. And since the very first day that we met, and she put her head on my lap and looked at me with those big brown eyes, she set up camp in my heart and has occupied it without fail every day of her life. This week marks the tenth year of that life and of our lives together.
This is my Willow.
We didn't know her when she was this teeny, but look at what a cutie she was. The runt of her litter, with what our breeder called a bit of an anxiety issue (which she still has), we fell in love with her the day we met her at 12 weeks old and two weeks later, we brought her home with us.
Then the fun started. Crate training, puppy school, 2 AM pee-pee walks and that time when we woke up in the middle of the night and panicked because we couldn't find her - she was stuck under our bed. You know, regular new dog parent stuff. Then, there was that other time when I went to work and she chewed her way out of her metal crate and proceeded to pee and poop on the floor in front of my desk in my home office, as if she was telling me how NOT cool it was to leave her.
She came on road trips to the mountains and hiked our favourite trails with us. She learned how to swim in a river in B.C. and then we couldn't get her out of any body of water, EVER! She had a boyfriend across the back alley who was the biggest and most beautiful Bernese Mountain dog you have ever seen and the sight of them playing together and then spooning and cuddling after they had tuckered themselves out is still one of my favourite memories of all time.
She used to like to sleep in very um... interesting positions.
When I was pregnant with my first child and on bed rest, she became VERY protective of me and would always stand/sit/lay down between me and anyone else coming to the door or visiting. And when we finally brought home the baby, would do the same with him. She was and has always been very gentle with her little people. Her name was my daughter's first word, besides Mama and Dada.
She knows she dropped some on the totem pole with the arrival of each kid, but she also knows that she is now loved beyond compare by twice as many humans. Two more bi-pedals to walk and run with her, to throw the ball with her and to rub her belly for her. Yes, they dress her up every now and then, but this is the price you pay for being so loveable and so loved.
She is our family dog, but let's be honest, she is mine and I am hers and we all know it. I am the one whose side of the bed she wants to sleep on. I am the one who gets the jumping up and down crazy paws dance when it is time for a walk, I am the one who gives her ear medicine when she needs it and then all the treats and puppy massages afterwards. I am the one she cries for whenever I have to leave her anywhere (sorry doggie daycare workers and pet groomers and people outside the cafe while I get a coffee for our morning walks) and I am the one whose lap she jumps on to at the vet.
I am her mommy and she is my baby and if that makes me some kind of crazy dog lady than so be it! Because there is nothing in the world that is like the unconditional love of a dog. And this one, she loves me. And I love her. How else do you explain my willingness to go for a walk with her in -40° C in the middle of an Alberta winter?
Happy Birthday my girl!
Mama loves you.