Dave and I love to celebrate our anniversary...
Year 5: "Staycation" in Omaha-- details to come
Year 4: Red Lobster & the then "new" pedestrian bridge
Year 3: We can't remember-- somewhere inbetween a miscarriage and getting pregnant with Dekker the next month
Year 1: Overnight stay at the Arbor Day Lodge in Nebraska City
But Year #2 changed everything. That was the year we got our dog, sweet Josie. Please understand that I did not want a dog. I have said before on this blog that I was super against the extra expenses, the time, etc. I really only saw the work that a dog would be. But I am a smart enough woman to know that a happy husband is a happy home. So I decided we could go look. And we found Josie and we loved her. Dave was ready to get her but I was not, and turns out it was too late to start the paperwork. Then, the unthinkable-- another family approached her kennel (we're at the humane society here) and started talking to her real nice. Suddenly, my heart jumped and I had this feeling like, "We have to get this dog!" So we went home and called the next morning to put a "hold" on her. We could only do that by filling out the paperwork. So Dave took off work at noon to go stand in line and fill out the paperwork and put a "hold" on her. After work, we went and had our "formal" meeting with her and brought her home. This is a picture from her actual first night at home.
I can not say enough how much I learned to love Josie. Suddenly, I was a "dog" person. I wanted to talk to everyone who had an ear about my dog. I kept pictures of her on my phone. Here are just a few reasons that I love her:
* She protects me. She is a great guard dog. I am home alone from time to time, and it reassures me that she barks the minute a car door is shut when we are all in bed.
* She loves me no matter what. I can want to kick her and throw her outside and yell at her and she has no hesitation to love me the minute I let her back in. I've learned a lot from her.
* She trusts me. I love when she rolls over and I rub her tummy.
* She is a great co worker for Dave.
* She gets my behind moving-- she has become a great walking partner.
* She keeps me company. I talk to her during the day. When I'm under the weather she cuddles with me. She is just so sweet.
Having a dog has not always been easy. We went through an awful phase with her not wanting to kennel up. So we started leaving her out of her kennel during the day and then coming home to a DISASTER including urine in the corner and my rug chewed up. One time she ate a bunch of bubble gum and I was afraid she was going to die. We did lots of reading about kennel training and eventually, over time mostly, she started going in much easier and now she is in her kennel with a simple verbal command. We also went through a several year phase where she caused more troubles on a walk than anything else. She used to lunge at bunnies so fiercely that on separate occasions both Dave and I tripped and fell. We went through SEVERAL collars (and money) until we found the one we have which makes her a moderately good walker. She could still improve, if you ask me. But I rarely want to shoot her or give her away by the end of my walk.
When I was about 8 months pregnant with Dekker I started to have a real fear that I wouldn't love my baby (sounds crazy now). I remember one day saying to my mom, "I love Josie. And she's a lot of work. So I'll love this baby, too. Right?" My mom laughed, but I was dead serious. Josie has taught me so much about love. She softened my heart that a lot of work can be so warm and rewarding. She reminded me that "bad days" are followed by "good days." In a way, she was our first child. I will always love her for that. She gave us confidence that we could love a baby-- that we could put ourselves second and that sacrifice, even though tiring sometimes, is worth it when you love what you're sacrificing for.
I made a commitment that I wouldn't turn on my dog when we had a baby. I have seen a lot of families start to hate their dog after they had kids. And believe me, I understand why and how this happens all too easy. Taking care of a child is nothing compared to taking care of a dog. And suddenly we realize how "spoiled" our dogs were- and they seem high maintenance now-- needing walks, fed, let out in the AM-- even when I have been up all night. There is so little left of me some days, that my patience wears thin when she jumps on the counter for the 4 millionth time or barks at the back door during nap time. Personally, our dog has become much more of a dog and less of a kid. For me, Josie is still a part of our family. She is our family dog. She honestly guards Dekker's door when he sleeps-- day or night. She walks right beside his stroller through the neighborhood-- so close that he can reach out and touch her. It will be interesting to see how their relationship changes as Dekker starts to walk, pull and tug. But I pray that they will work things out and that these two loves of mine will keep loving one another. Because as much as I love Josie, she does not want me to chose between the two of them :)
On the journey,