Family, Marriage

What I Learned about Bravery and Love from my Dog Today

dog in backseat
car selfie with Honey immediately after the vet

Today we took our dog, Honey, to her annual vet appointment for her vaccinations and heart worm test. We had a couple of questions that were answered. We haven’t been brushing her teeth as we were told to – about a year ago she had to have some pulled from the severe plaque and gingivitis – but the vet said they looked better than she expected them to. Her heart sounded “terrific”, we were told. She tested negative for heart worms. She took her shots like a champion. The bump near her tail that we were concerned about is just a cyst and not a big deal. Her weight has remained steady. The wound she likes to lick will be okay. She does have a growth on her ear that needs removed, and her teeth need cleaned prophylactically.

She hates going to the vet. I’m sure it has never been a fun experience for her; every time she has been she’s come out with new shots or teeth missing or some sort of perceived trauma. Our vet is amazing – we ask for her by name. Still, Honey has always spent most of the time in the exam room hiding behind her daddy and shedding wildly due to nerves.

Today was a little different. She only hid behind Jason (“Daddy”) a little bit, still shedding wildly. She let the veterinarian look at her eyes and teeth and wounds, putting up just a little bit of a fight, wiggling around. She was the bravest I have ever seen her. When I told her I loved her and how good of a girl she is, she wagged her tail a little.

When she got her shots, the nurse held her tight (thank goodness, because once, a different nurse barely had her and Honey yelped and jumped and the vet let go of the shot, causing it to hang in her backside for a moment. It was the worst experience we have ever had at that place – and the nurse had the nerve to say, “I thought she was going to be good!” I was extremely offended – she is good.)

Jason had hold of her, too. The doctor was, of course, giving her the vaccines. I sat in a chair nearby and didn’t break eye contact. I smiled at her as soothingly as I could, and her ears were down and her tail was down and she stared me down.

I was proud of her. I love her so much. I have a hard time expressing how I feel about her any other way – she is my baby. My nine-year-old, fluffy, four-legged baby. And though I think Jason spoils her at times, I could not ask for a better partner to parent her with.

Growing up, I always wanted a dog. I never had any pets besides fish, two of which died almost immediately after they were put into my care. (This was one of the most traumatic moments of my tween-aged life.) I used to write stories about young girls finding a dog and keeping it. (That would have never, ever flown in my mom’s house, by the way.) I even longed for a dog named Honey so I could announce, “Honey, I’m home!” When I met Jason, I had forgotten about this fantasy, but fell in love with his adorable one-and-a-half year old dog, Honey, anyway.

(For the record, even with the perfect opportunity, I rarely announce our presence to Honey when we arrive home. She is already very aware where we are from the second we pull into the driveway… perhaps even before.)

I could not ask for a better creature to love than my dog. I worry at times that I will never be able to love a human baby the same way I love Honey. If that sounds like a stretch to anyone, they underestimate the depth of unconditional love I feel for her.

Thank God for my dog and my partner. I would be lost without them.

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