|Baby and Mommy on our wedding day|
Long before I was mommy to Sabrina, I was a doggy mommy. Baby is and always will be my first "child". She and I have been through so much together in the last 3 and a half years. Through broken relationships, through several moves, through 2 jobs, through dating and marriage and new babies, my Baby has been by my side.
Growing up, my house was a no dog house. My parents didn't want the responsibility and they knew how hard it would be when the dog would inevitably age and hard decisions would have to be made. So why, at the age of 27, I decided that I HAD to have a dog, I'll never really know. But I made up my mind and that was that. I knew I wanted to rescue a dog, so I started doing some internet searching. That was when I came across Baby's shelter posting. She was abused and neglected and her "owner" (if you can even call the scum that) surrendered her, assuming after some kind soul called the humane society to report her owners. She was shy and scared. The first time I saw her, she sat next to me and put one paw on my leg, as if to say that she was mine. That sealed the deal forever.
To say I love that dog would be an understatement. The joy that she had brought me, the companionship, the overwhelming and unselfish love that she gives to me was something I never ever expected. She also taught me how to be a mother. She taught me responsibility, like vet appointments and not being away from home for hours on end because she was home waiting for me. She taught me what it felt like to get up in the middle of the night to tend to someone else's needs. She toughened me up when it came to gross things like poop and pee and puke. She broke my heart with every seizure that she's had since she came into my life. I have felt every emotion you can imagine when it comes to my dog, and now I get to feel all those things (and more) with Sabrina.
It hasn't all been sunshine and roses. Adopting a rescue who has been abused has it's definite drawbacks. Baby started her life with me scared and quiet. But now she has found her "voice". She barks at passers by, especially the dreaded mailman. She knows her "pack" and loves us dearly. But she also has an aggression issue when it comes to strangers. Last year, my worst fears were realized when she bit our teenage niece. I can honestly say that it was one of the absolute worst days of my life. I cried for hours and hours and hours. My Baby is such a sweet, loving dog. But outside of our family and my parents, she is fearful and she acts out with aggression when she is scared. We know now to keep strangers away, but it presents huge challenges every single day. I am at a loss for how to handle it, and it absolutely breaks my heart. I need to have her see a trainer, which I've put off for too long, but can someone really undo all the damage to her, none of which is really her fault? I don't know. I am skeptical. But I want her to get better and I want to help her like she's helped me.
During the darkest days of my postpartum depression, I'd lay awake in the middle of the night on the couch, Sabrina sleeping (or not sleeping.. Lol) in the rock and play next to me. And as if she could read my mind, Baby would always snuggle up next to me on the couch, and there we would sleep, together. Not the most comfortable of sleeping arrangements, considering she is about 60 pounds with long legs and killer claws, but I didn't care. I needed the comfort, and she provided that just by being there.
I will go to the ends of the earth for my dog, because I know that is exactly what she would do for me. I love her for everything that she has meant to me, for being by my side through some of my worst days as well as some of my best. She is a part of me, an extension of my soul. So today might be National Dog Day, but quite honestly that's everyday in this house. I love you Baby, and there'll be a special dish of Frosty Paws for you for dessert later.