You Never Know

Several years ago someone special arrived in my life.  I didn’t realize when I met them how special they would be.  I assumed they would be part of my life for a while and eventually they would leave without leaving much of an impact.  I was wrong.

The ‘someone’ I met years ago was my little dog, Daisy.  Daisy arrived unexpected at my front door ten years ago when I mentioned to a neighbor I “might’ be looking for another dog.  At the time my family and I had an older dog who suffered from anxiety.  We wanted a second dog to reduce my first dog’s stress.

We adopted our first dog because she was neglected by a neighbor.  Daisy arrived when a different neighbor heard we may want another dog.  Daisy’s previous owners were not able to care for her and she was in need of a new home.  The moment Daisy walked into our home she stayed.

Growing up my family and I never had dogs.  We did have several cats though.  As a child I wasn’t much of an animal person.  Occasionally, I would come across a dog or cat I liked, but for the most part I enjoyed children more.

As I grew older I still preferred children to animals.  Each time my family requested to have an animal live in my home I was reluctant.  There is so much work involved in the daily care of an animal.  Making sure they are healthy, happy, fed, clean, and entertained are just some of the responsibilities.  I have always had a job that requires a lot of responsibility.  Adding an animal made me feel like I would add more to my workload.

When Daisy arrived at my home she was a lot of work.  She was a sweet dog, but she was riddled with behavioral problems.  She used to bark at everything, jump on people when they visited, climb up chairs and tables to get to find food, eat ANTHING she found, ran out the front door when it was opened, and mooched endlessly when we ate our meals.

It was not love at first sight for Daisy and I.  Having never had a dog before I was clueless about how to re-train her from her horrible habits.  I was frustrated with her behaviors and embarrassed at how ill-behaved she was.  For several years I didn’t feel a connection to her because her behaviors were so annoying.  For a long while I wondered if I made a mistake in taking her into our home.

However, after a few years Daisy began to settle down and I became better and dealing with her issues.  It wasn’t easy, but soon I began to feel closer to her and would refer to her as ‘my dog’ opposed to what I usually did which was to refer to her as the ‘family’s’ dog.

As Daisy grew older she and I settled into a better relationship.  I was the one who filled her water bowl each morning and made sure she went to the bathroom.  I would take her to the doctor when she was ill.  I made sure she was eating healthy foods and taken on a daily walk.  I began to care for Daisy like she was one of my children.  I wasn’t always as patient as some of my family was with her, but I improved.

Last Sunday Daisy passed away.   She lived in our home for ten years.  We were treating her for what we thought was bronchitis, but now realize she may have had tumors in her lungs.  The night before her passing I hosted a holiday party at my home and Daisy seemed fine.  However, by the next morning she was gone.

I woke up Sunday morning and noticed right away she was not there to greet me.  Often she would stay asleep until I woke up.  I walked to the living room and noticed she was in her bed.  She didn’t move when I greeted her.  I leaned closer to her and saw she wasn’t breathing.  I quickly called to my husband to come and look at Daisy.  He put his hand on her and confirmed what I knew had happened…she was gone.

I immediately began to sob.  They were deep painful sobs.  They seemed to come from out of nowhere.  My heart began to ache.  I stared at Daisy in disbelief that she could really be gone.  I began to wonder, “Was she is pain last night?, Could I have prevented this from happening?, Did I tell her I loved her yesterday?, How would I function without her?”.

My husband and I woke the boys to tell them the news.  They were all devastated.  The entire family sat on the floor crying telling Daisy goodbye and how much we loved her.  I was crying the hardest.

When Daisy arrived in my life years ago, I had no idea how deeply she would affect me.  I was not a dog lover.  However, over the course of ten years something changed.  I changed.  I learned to love an animal with my whole heart.  I learned deep love is not reserved just between humans.  I learned I how to be Daisy’s mother.

One week later I am still sad at Daisy’s passing.  I sweep the floor and see a few stray hairs and think of her.   No one greets me in the morning when I wake.  I stare at the space where her bed once lay.  All throughout my home are things that remind me of her.  I miss her.

You never know what things will impact you in life.   For me having a little dog has changed me…hopefully for the better.  I have Daisy to thank for that.

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6 thoughts on “You Never Know

  1. Nate,
    I read this thinking and wondering if I may feel the same way about our cat. I grew up with two large dogs and never replaced them in my life, certainly never with a cat…I never really liked cats because the few I met were aloof or mean or didn’t seem to need people.
    We have had Savannah for about 6 years now, after having rescued her at the Michigan Humane Society…She was there for months. She is an integral part of our day. She greets as at the door very often, or comes when called with her special sound, she will come to us with her toy, asking for us to toss it for a game of fetch and likes to be held. I generally still do not like cats because of some of their capabilities (jumping on countertops and sneaking or jumping up on you). But, she is really a dog cat and brings my daughter so much joy, and there is more laughter in the house.
    BUT – she drives me nuts. I have my complaints. In certain ways I am captive to her and I resent it.
    Yet, I wonder, as much as I would appreciate some of my freedoms back, which areas of my life has been what I needed so that I will miss when she is gone. What type of glue was she in the family?
    Thanks for the post.

  2. Oh Nate… i am so sorry. You have given Daisy a lovely tribute. She was meant to be a member of your family…she was a lucky girl. xo

  3. This post struck me. I’ve always loved and believed the saying “you never get the dog you want, you get the dog you need” and it sounded like you definitely did. Our pets always change something inside of us, even if it’s just a little. If you’ve never read the books “A Dog’s Purpose” and “A Dog’s Journey” you really should, you will love them. It’s a heart warming insight to why these special babies find their way into our hearts….make sure ou have tissues!

      • It’s not my normal type of reading either but these books entrance me. They really give you something to think about! So sorry for your pain. I have a senior dog and I worry about him every day.

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