my loves

Jill- the Softy

Gone to the dogs...

I love my family. I love my friends. But I live for my dogs. I only actually have one dog, here on earth. My angel, Brownie, died two years ago. I thought I might too, from heartbreak. Brownie was my constant companion, a part German Sheppard mutt, and the best darn looking dog you've ever seen. When she was a puppy, one eye was blue and the other green- and I knew she was special from the start. Brownie loved tennis balls. She could drive you crazy bringing that thing back so fast after you'd thrown it, nudging you with her nose until you threw it again. I felt bad when i got tired of playing, so I'd bribe her with a piece of cheese; Dairy was her favorite. Anytime one of us in the house finished a tub of margarine, jar of bleu cheese dressing or a container of sour cream, Brownie was there to excavate the insides, licking every last bit of creamy goodness from the plastic. She'd run off with her nose shoved in the plastic container and come back with that nose covered in white. I'd buy all the cheese and cream and dressing in the world if it meant she'd come back to me. I still hear her howl in my memories. She sounded like a coyote baying into the moonlight. When she wanted to come in from out back, she'd paw at the door, and when you didn't notice, she'd let out the deepest howl you ever heard until you let her in. She slept in the corner of my parent’s room, swallowed up in a sea of old comforters, but in the morning, as soon as she opened her eyes, she darted through my door and jumped onto my bed, licking and pawing my face until I woke up. For so many mornings after she died I waited, still expecting her to come bursting through my door, my wake-up-call, my sunshine.

I vowed to never have a dog again after Brownie. Nothing, no one could take her place and I expected to live always on the verge of tears like this, cursing the forces that swept her away and remaining bitter about life. So when my oldest sister, a vet technician, asked my family to foster a homeless dog until someone would adopt it, I was adamantly against it. “I'm sure this is a nice dog”, I reasoned, and “I love all animals, but I won't go through this pain ever again.” Despite my protests, we took in the dog, Charlie, "temporarily". (Nothing is every temporary with animals and us. My bleeding-heart mother and I nearly crash the car trying to avoid swooping pigeons and cats a mile away…) So we took Charlie in, knowing we would probably be keeping him and everyone began to coddle him but me. I kept my distance. I gave him a pet here and there, but I refused to look into those gorgeous brown eyes of his. It was easy at first, because he wasn't exactly the most attractive dog. When he first walked in the door we all sort of gasped at how, well, ugly he was. To make matters worse, this brown fur lump of a dog was scared of everything. He skid when you tried to move your hand toward him. He cowered when any of us spoke. I thought it'd be easy not to love- really love- him since he didn't want to be anywhere near me, a big scary human. Then one day, sad there thinking about Brownie, I went over to Charlie and gave him a pet. He flinched at first but he loved the scratching, and sacrificed his safety to let me scratch his scruffy head. For a moment I was okay; I hadn't forgotten Brownie or that empty place her absence left, but I could feel a new part of my heart filling up with love for this dog. A year and a half later Charlie is my everything, my saving grace. I spoil him ridiculously. At least three walks a day, even when he has a full yard to play in and the comforts of air conditioning indoors. I spend more money on gourmet treats for him than on anything for myself. He sleeps on my bed, usually taking up the pillow next to me as though he was my human roommate. I let Charlie get away with whatever he wants and in a way it’s so I can make up for all the time I took for granted with Brownie. As cheesy as it sounds (and it sounds so cheesy) I think Brownie led Charlie my way, to mend my broken heart and show me I could love again. My heart belongs to these dogs.

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Just Jill Jill- the Drama Queen Jill- the Material Girl