Behold the power of dog hugs!

This week we celebrated Valentine’s Day with our loved ones, but it was also a time to remember loved ones who are no longer here. A close friend lost her beloved golden retriever this week and as we talked and laughed and cried together, I kept thinking how cruel it is that pets live such short lives, but also how LUCKY we are to share them. She, like I, was head over heels for our dogs and often regarded as “crazy” by our friends and family. In a good way I hope ūüôā But we both know that the pure unconditional love you share with special pets is so powerful. I don’t feel embarrassed, in fact, I feel sorry that some people will never experience this type of love. Because it is simple and uncomplicated and something we all deserve and need.

As we age, we are losing so many dear friends that sometimes it’s overwhelming. It’s like a clock is ticking and we know we will be next. It’s unavoidable. And we don’t always see eye to eye with our relatives, sometimes there are so many mixed feelings we have to reconcile at the end of life. But our pets are always just there, not judging us, not staying mad at us, never ignoring us, just loving us. How special that relationship is, and for me, as I struggle with aging parents, I am ever thankful that I have had and will always have a furry dog to hug.

And hugging a dog can be true therapy. As you can tell by the photo of my oldest son, I am (hopefully) passing on the dog hugging gene to my boys ūüôā Because they will need it too. During one of the most painful times in my life when I lost a close friend to a car accident at a very young age, I remember feeling like life was spinning out of control. It was my first time dealing with death and I was in shock. We were all grieving at my friend’s house and so was their family dog. I remember this little dog gingerly walking up to me and bowing her head and it dawned on me that she also needed a hug. That hug meant the world to me and now I don’t hesitate to grab my dogs when I need a hug. Of course I grab my kids and husband as well so don’t think I’m ignoring them! But sometimes it’s nice to huge someone without having to explain, without having to go into details, to just feel that love. Because your dog will always give it back to you. (Well, assuming you treat it with respect and dignity of course.)

This past week I was awakened at 2am to clean up vomit – yes once again Rudy ate something hard and plastic – and I was irritated and cranky and couldn’t get back to sleep. But then the next day I’m reminded how fragile life is. For all the hassle and cleanups, it’s truly a small price to pay for the love I get in return.

Now go hug those doggies ūüôā

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In a weird way, I should thank whoever abandoned my lovely Siberian husky Luna…

At times I can’t imagine how anyone could abandon a dog.¬† I’ve heard so many stories about dogs being left on the side of the interstate, dropped off at vets and never reclaimed, and of course brought into animal shelters.¬† I know many times there are good reasons, just like putting a child up for adoption.¬† But I’d always wonder how you could just leave an animal somewhere like a parking lot?¬† well that is what happened to my lovely Luna…

After¬†Cato, my first Siberian husky, it took me a long time to think about another dog.¬† We still had Solo who was a stray that was bottle fed from birth after being rescued by some loyal animal lovers who were trying to capture his stray mother.¬† I was always drawn to the Siberian husky breed and realized I had become kind of a crazy husky person – yes even a guy at my local wine store called me the “husky lady” because I always asked about his husky who lived in our neighborhood.¬† You could say I was sort of obsessed…¬†

So after about 2 years I decided I was ready for another dog, and began looking for huskies.¬† To be honest, it was very difficult at first.¬†¬†Even after I found Luna I experienced a definite high then low.¬† Because it wasn’t Cato.¬† I could never replace Cato.¬† But that wasn’t the point.

Someone left Luna, a beautiful husky female in a Wal-Mart parking lot outside of Jackson, TN, 2 hours from Nashville.¬†¬†The shelter named her Lollipop because they just had run out of names after taking in so many dogs over the years.¬† Earlier tonight, as a friend marveled at Luna’s beauty and calm nature, I relayed her story.¬†¬†I told her how the animal shelter found her, 10 pounds light then she is now, malnourished, and very skittish.¬† We weren’t even sure she would work out after we brought her home because she fought with Solo over food and attention – it was obvious she was used to scrounging for food and wasn’t sure where her next meal was coming from.¬†¬†But as strange as this sounds – I should thank the person who left her.¬† Because the person who left her obviously would NEVER have provided her with the life she deserved.¬†Maybe they couldn’t afford a dog, who knows, but thank God that shelters like the Carroll County¬†Humane Society¬†exist.¬†

It was a beautiful full moon the night we adopted Luna – January 24, 2008 – which is why we named her Luna.¬† So tonight as I gaze¬†at another beautiful full moon, I thank whoever left Luna and all the other dogs who have found loving homes.¬† Our dogs all deserve better and now they’ve found it!¬† I just wish there was a home for each and every one of them…