Each year, I mark this day as Bear’s birthday. He was actually 12 weeks old when I adopted him, three years ago today. But today is the day he became mine, and I became his, and we changed each other's lives. So it seems fitting to celebrate today. His actual birth date is a little uncertain anyway.
One of the things that struck me about Bear the first time I saw him, was the incredible expression in his eyes. He was so calm, laying outside a Petco pet store where I was innocently going to buy a friend a gift for her new puppy. I had a moment unlike any other in my life. I saw Bear from across the parking lot and felt instantly, “that is my dog”. It was the wrong time for me to be adding another furry child to my household, I was out of work, struggling, depressed and overwhelmed. Not exactly the time to add a puppy to the mix.
But, oh, am I ever so thankful that I did. I have written before about how Bear rescued me. We rescued each other.
For years, I dreamed of having a dog, but my job required constant travel, and it was never realistic. I had this vision of the relationship I would have with a dog, partially from my friend’s relationships with their dogs. But, I never dreamed how much this boy would mean to me. I adore my three cats, but there is something so different about my relationship with Bear. I marvel constantly at how Bear communicates with us and us with him, when he can’t speak (although he tries), or communicate with us in “normal” ways. There is such a bond of love there, such an unfailing comfort, that I now can’t imagine my life without it.
From the minute Bear met Shea, who later became my husband, they were crazy about each other. I am so happy and thankful every day that the man I married is as tenderhearted as I am (sometimes even moreso) when it comes to our animals. He worries over Bear if he isn’t feeling well, pampers him at every turn, and gets more joy out of seeing Bear happy than he can contain. I adore this part of my husband, and cherish the relationship they have.
I wrote something a month or so ago and referred to Bear as the “heartbeat of our house”. It is so true. When we come home after a trip out of town and Bear is still at his doggie daycare, the house seems to have lost all of its energy and heart. Coming home without his excited, wiggly butt, over-the-top reaction just isn’t the same. We find ourselves missing him after only a short time away, and being as excited to come home to him as he is to see us.
During the last year, my husband and I had many things and people to be thankful for. We also had a tough year, as Shea struggled to find work in a horrible job market and sluggish economy. There were days that I didn’t feel I could console or comfort Shea, and it broke my heart. But, without fail, Bear could break through and make Shea smile or laugh, and escape stressful thoughts. Coming home after fruitless job interviews or frustrating days of searching could be instantly remedied by Bear’s enthusiastic happy dance at the top of the stairs each night. I witnessed how magical that unconditional love can be, and the power to heal and comfort that seemed boundless.
The calm puppy I saw that day three years ago, bounded to life after a few days in my home. I think Bear had been a bit depressed, too. He was at a shelter, biding his time, and (unbelievably) due to be put down. Then, on January 17, everything changed. For both of us.
So today, Bear will get a few extra slices of his beloved cheese, an extra treat or two, and his own special dinner. He will get to go to the beach and chase the seagulls and if he’s lucky, drag my unsuspecting husband into the surf when he senses Shea is not paying attention. He will get lots of hugs and kisses, and a special thank you from his mom for all the love and joy he has brought into my life… beginning three years ago today.
Read about the day I adopted Bear here.
Read last year’s entry, Two Years, here.