"There's a bit of magic in everything, and some loss to even things out." -Lou Reed

Friday, January 18, 2013

Four Years with Bear

I could have gone somewhere else that day. In the hours before I arrived, Bear could have been chosen and adopted by someone else. He had been in front of the pet store, along with a few other dogs from a local shelter, for hours that day. Who knows if he had been through the process in the weeks before.? I don’t know how anyone could have walked by and not scooped up that adorable 12-week-old fur ball.

Whatever you want to call it- coincidence, fate, destiny—whatever it was, four years ago today, Bear became mine and I became his.

I look back on many decisions and cross roads in my life with doubt and curiosity. What if I had taken this job instead of that one? What if I had made this choice and not the other? Some of those decisions haunt me, because I believe there might have been a better outcome if I had made a different one. I can’t ever know that, and I can’t truly regret the decision since I don’t know, but in quiet, private moments, I wonder.

The snap decision to make Bear mine is one I look back on with absolute certainty. It was the worst time for me to have brought a dog into my life- if you looked at the situation logically. It turned out to be the best timing for my life, my heart, and the very soul of me. It sounds melodramatic to say these things, to say and believe that a little furry being of 12 weeks could save someone, in every sense of the word. But he did. Only after I had signed the adoption papers did I find out that I saved Bear—really saved him. The day I adopted Bear was his last chance. He was due to be put down if he didn’t find a forever home that day.

It is hard to believe he has been with me four years. In that time frame, my life changed completely. Beautiful things happened, beginning with Bear. He was the first piece, then came all the steps that have led to today. The time has flown by. In the last six months or so, it has worried me—just the speed of it all—how fast time is going with him. How fast and how short of a time I know we will have with Bear in the scheme of things. It seems macabre and foolish to think and worry now. Bear is only four, we have many years left with him. But I truly cannot imagine my life, our lives, without our Bear. 

When my husband and I started dating in November of 2009. Bear hadn’t yet been with me a year. From the moment Shea came into my life, he and Bear were instantly in love with each other. The bond that Shea and Bear have sometimes takes my breath away.  There is such a fated connection between them, that I cannot help but believe that all of this was meant to be. Me, Shea, and Bear—all the moments, all the choices--all planned somehow. Bear has been such a huge part of our lives, there with us every moment, and any time away from him not the same for us. Not as rich, not as complete.

My husband is definitely the love of my life. But Bear is the other love of my life. I call him the furry love of my life. The joy he has brought to my life, the comfort he has brought to me in times of pain and loss, is so hard for me to explain. When a person gives you comfort, you can share the words they said, you can explain their acts of selflessness. But how do you explain how an animal knows things he shouldn’t know? How his expression reveals so much? How he shows up at your side before you know you need him? He can’t tell you these things he knows, he just “is”. How can you explain how you have watched him pull your husband out of dark moments when nothing and no one else could? How do you explain that to someone else?

Other dog lovers know. If you are one, you are probably nodding now in recognition of those moments.

Bear has a good life. He is spoiled by anyone’s standards, and is loved beyond measure. He always has a full belly, although he would lead you to believe otherwise. He can be incredibly stubborn, imaginatively sneaky, and so unbelievably smart that it takes Shea and I a few moments to catch up and believe he has understood something we have said, or referred to. He can be frustrating, demanding, and incredibly naughty.  He is insanely jealous of the three cats that also live with us, and alternatively is extremely possessive of Shea and anyone, including me, who takes too much of his time or attention.

We truly treasure all those moments. We know we can’t have Bear forever, or nearly as long as we would like. Right now, he is healthy, happy, and sleeping nearby--probably dreaming of endless slices of cheese, or a romp at the dog park. He is the main reason we laugh every single day—true, deep, instantaneous belly laughs—every single day. We are so thankful for that.  So thankful for Bear.

We always celebrate this day, January 17, as his birthday. This was the day he became Bear, and we both started the next best chapters in our lives. Today Bear will get a special meal, some toys and treats, and a trip to the dog park and an unbelievable amount of hugs and kisses. Due to being spoiled, Bear might think this is a day like any other day. To me and to Shea, it is so much more. It’s Bear’s day, but we have truly received the most incredible gift: Four years with Bear.

To see the previous posts in this series, click below:
*January 17th is Bear's official adoption day, but due to a bout of horrible migraines the last few days, the post was delayed. 


Commchick January 19, 2013 at 12:05 AM  

What a beautiful post, it brought tears to my eyes. All my children have paws so I understand where you are coming from. I have lost and still mourn two of my furry children, but I don't regret any moment of having them in my life. Your pictures of Bear show his personality so well, I love his smile. At the present time I have two dogs (female black lab and male shitzu/poodle mix) and one cat. The dogs fell in love with my fiancee immediately upon meeting him, and the cat tolerates him (I'm sure you know what I mean since you have cats also). Sorry I made this comment so long. :-)

Eva Gallant January 21, 2013 at 2:44 PM  

Aww... that was a sweet post!

D.M. SOLIS February 21, 2013 at 9:01 PM  

That is one lucky dawg...and I know yous are too, to have such a Bear. I'm glad he's healthy and enJOYing his life with you. Peace and continued good things for you and your Bear.

Diane (who misses her Lucy so very much)

Steven Anthony March 20, 2013 at 4:00 PM  

awwwww what a lucky pup :)

Thanks for stopping by my new blog and your king words, I'm back :)


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