Today, I am thankful for Dutch.
Dutch and I have a fairly unhealthy obsession with each other, as my mom can attest. I let him kiss me all over my face. He sleeps tucked in right next to me, buried under the covers. When I’m watching TV, he’s always lying right next to me – or ON me. I miss him when I’m away and get excited every night I come home to see him. We cuddle, we kiss, and he knows exactly how to make me feel better when I’m sad.
Dutch is my third dog. My first was Minnie, a dog my parents bought from the SPCA when I was in fourth grade. She was a beagle-terrier mix and will always have a special place in my heart. She died in June 2008 from cancer. Buford was my second dog, an adorable, feisty Yorkshire terrier who was hit by a car and had to be put down due to his injuries a little over a year after we got him. (A family friend couldn’t keep him anymore so we jumped at the opportunity to have him.)
Minnie and Buford’s deaths hit me hard. They were both unexpected and frightening and heart-breaking.
I loved Minnie and Buford tremendously. More than anything.
But I love Dutch in a deeper, crazier, consuming way. When he’s around me, I’m constantly touching him, hugging him, telling him “I love you.” I cannot imagine my life without him. I’ve actually kept myself awake at night, thinking about the day he’s gone.
I realize this post may make me seem like a crazy dog lady, but I’m perfectly okay with it. I am a dog person, through and through. And I don’t think anyone who hasn’t had a dog can understand where I’m coming from. There is something special about dogs. They are loving and loud and affectionate. They fill up your heart with love and joy. They irritate you beyond belief sometimes and the barking can get annoying and sometimes, you have to wake up in the middle of the night to clean up after them. But you put up with it all because of all the happiness they bring you. Because you love them and they love you more than anything in the world.
Dutch has shown me what love is. He has shown me how to love. He greets me every time I come home with a wagging butt and cries and barks of “I’m so happy you’re home! I missed you so much!” (Or at least that’s what I choose to believe he’s saying, heh.) I am thankful for him, today and everyday. He may annoy me with his stubbornness, constant barking, and inability to quit licking my face when I try to talk to him but he’s given me so much love and joy that it doesn’t even matter.
I don’t know what I’ll do with myself when he’s gone but for now, I’ll enjoy the times I have with them and cherish every face lick and loud bark.