a year ago (tomorrow) i wrote a post about how my life had changed.
unfortunately, i am often using the term "life changing" or the phrase "it changed my life" and usually i am not referring to anything significant so much as i am referring to pie. or a burrito. and sometimes something truly profound, like an app for my phone.
but despite these frequent "life changing" occurrences, i do still know the real significance of an actual life changing event.
a year ago, i got a puppy.
and she really did change my life.
a year later, i cannot believe how much she continues to change my life for the better.
i know what you're thinking. and i'm willing to bet the little money that i do have that it is something like this:
"hello! lady! she's a dog. you're a human. yes, we get it-man's best friend and blah blah blah but seriously, woman, pull yourself together. she is a canine. not a saint."
and you can think that all you want. that is fine with me.
but to that statement, i will say,
i am sorry you have never experienced the joy, the healing power and dare i say, the life change that comes with loving a dog.
and yes, i realize she is not a human.
i realize she will never be able to actually converse with me.
i realize she will never be able to wipe my tears when i am sad or make me chicken soup when i am ill.
i realize she is a dog.
and i think that is why i love her so much.
because all she will ever be able to do is be my dog.
and she will never fall short of that duty.
she will never let me down.
she will never hurt my feelings.
she will never say things out of anger or resentment.
she will never gossip about me behind my back.
she will never turn her back on me.
and even when she eats my boots and all 4 of my handmade pillows, she will never intentionally seek to make me sad.
all she has to do is be my dog and wag her tail when i come home.
and she is nothing short of perfect when it comes to that.
having gilly has taught me about love in a way i hardly know how to express without crying.
go ahead, judge. but you're the one missing out. i promise you that.
and yes, gilly is just a dog. but having this dog has taught me how to be a better human.
she does not care if i have morning breath and bed head.
she does not care about my acne or my bangs that almost never look good and almost always fall wrong.
she does not care that my wardrobe is 2/3 blah.
she does not care that i'm not rich.
she does not care that i'm not perfect.
she just wants to be a good dog and have someone to love.
she just wants to love and be loved.
and to me, that is better than most any conversation i could have. it is better than any bowl of chicken soup-no matter how delicious it may be.
how could spending every day of the past year with gilly not change my life?
shouldn't we all love the way gilly does?
i am blessed to have her. i am so fortunate to have adopted that sweet, stinky puppy with poop on her forehead and a belly full of worms.
and even when she eats my crafts or whines incessantly to go outside or punches me in the face when we're wresting or lays her entire torso on my head while i'm sleeping or pulls a massive chunk of hair out of my head while we're playing or pukes on my bed or destroys every single toy we buy her in a matter of seconds or digs holes in the neighbors' yard or sheds like it is going out of style or catches/kills a squirrel and tries to bring it's carcass into my house---i love her.
what? no. i wasn't crying.
okay, i was.
whatever. you're over it.
so that's enough of the heart-string crap.
let's talk about all the other things she has taught me in the past year.
gilly has taught me:
-that catching, fetching and jumping are not so much instinctual as they are learned "tricks" that develop over time. i did not know this. i thought she was doomed when she didn't catch a ball in her mouth the first time i threw it to her. but she learned to do it eventually. sort of. :]
-that the best way to break the ice with relative (or total) strangers is for the first conversation to go something like this: "hi. nice to meet you....oh..gilly! stop. no! ....sorry, she just sticks her face in crotches for some reason. i don't have an explanation for it..." really, i have no explanation for it. but she does it always. to everyone. i apologize in advance to anyone who may encounter her.
-that even the sweetest faced pups can still be good guard dogs. she has been so good to have around in the ghetto. i genuinely feel safer knowing she's with me all the time.
-that having a pet is more like having a child than it is like having a plant. anyone who tells you otherwise has either had half-dead pets or incredibly animated plants.
-that peanut butter really is the most divine substance on earth-why else would my dog come running inside from a glorious day outside when prompted by nothing but the sweet aroma of peanut butter. she loves it just as much as i do. and i love that about her.
-that dogs have just as much personality as people. and it is usually a far more pleasant experience getting to know a dog than a person.
-that dogs also have real emotion and feelings. this includes embarrassment and humiliation. when gilly was about 7 or 8 weeks old we were teaching her to fetch her toys. she was finally catching onto the process of following the toy as we moved it around and jumping for it as we lifted it higher. garrett threw the toy and she pounced on it. he lifted it and she jumped for it. our little girl was learning. garrett then held the toy above a small, lided storage bin that was next to him. gilly, in all her excitement of this new game and new toy began to run and jump for the toy. she had not yet mastered the concept of gauging distance, however, and she consequently jumped too early and slammed right into the storage bin (cartoon style) and fell backwards. garrett and i laughed so hard and gilly, truly embarrassed, hung her head and walked away to hide under our side table. i loved her a lot at that moment.
-that a squishy, smashy puppy face can make you laugh even in the middle of a sad, pathetic sob.
-that the greatest way to end a day is to climb in bed with my husband and my pup.
i sure do love this pup. i sure am lucky to be her mama.
and i am so excited to have another year of learning with her.
she's the best.
i love you, gilly.
lyrics: you are my sunshine, my only sunshine. you make me happy when skies are grey. you'll never know, dear, how much i love you.