I never loved an animal before I met you, in fact I was decidedly not a pet person before you. Before I saw your adorable face in the online classifieds, before you walked into our house and fell asleep at our feet and in our laps. Before you licked our faces and bounced around our world like a bucking bronco of lanky limbs and often unmanageable energy.
When you entered our lives less than 3 years ago, my hope was for a running partner, a safety net on the roads and trails, a pet for our boys to fall in love with and add to our craziness.
Like most of life, I could have never imagined how you would change me. How I would have to confront my anger issues, how you would push my buttons with your often uncontrollable instincts, how I would break my toe twice on your leg, how you would bark uncontrollably when anyone entered our yard. How I would return from every walk, in the first months we owned you, in tears because I could not control your rapidly growing body and single-minded desire to "be friends" with every living thing you would see.
I never imaged how God would confront me in Psalms about how you treat a dog is how you view God and how every day since I read that passage I have struggled to love you in spite of your often infuriating behavior.
I never imagined that, as you and I struggled to find a place of homeostasis in our relationship, how deeply lovable you would become. How you would change our family and my boys and added depth and purpose to our daily lives. How our boys slept better and felt safer with you around. How I worried about you when I wasn't there and how happy you were when we came home. How the boys count you in our number of people in the family, despite being a dog.
Yes, I fell in love with you. A dog. A dog who required, often times, more care that a dog should. A dog who's beauty and personality are second to none.
I fell in love with a dog.
Recently though things have gotten crazier with you. For months we've struggled to maintain your happiness and healthiness. You started eating your tail and are on anti-psychotic medication to stop you from mutilating your body. Knowing you needed a friend we got you Jed, hoping to rewire your brain and refocus your energy. For weeks my life has revolved around you, I have become shackled to you. I have prayed for the Psalmist's wisdom for you and that all these efforts would save you.
I cannot save you. None of these things are saving you. My love won't save you.
Today I have to say goodbye to you. To make the gut wrenching decision that you are sick and will not get better.
I don't know if all dogs go to heaven, or if any dogs go to heaven, but with all of my heart and soul I pray that you are running off leash with a pack of beautiful dogs and horses in unending fields of grass and birds.
You will be missed.
I fell in love with a dog.