Tuesday, June 13, 2017

A House That Finally Feels Like Home

The bowls of popcorn shared.

Each baby coming home to meet her.

Swims and walks at the park.

Four-legged birthday parties.

Endless kisses and snuggles.  

These are the memories of our sweet Summer we hold close to our hearts.

Saying goodbye to her in August of last year was tremendously heartbreaking.  But the second chapter has begun, and she lives on in our memories.  If you missed it, you can read A Tribute to Summerdog on my blog.

And now we begin the next chapter of our doggie parent lives.  

Even though I knew we'd eventually have another dog, we all recognized how strange it was going to be to have another furry friend in the house.  We waited until our hearts had healed somewhat (I do not think I'll ever see a picture of Summer or have a memory of her without feeling the sharp pain and sadness of her absence) before we even started looking.  And then when we did, we were open to many types of breeds--boxer, yellow lab, chocolate lab--until.  Until Jonah found a Golden Retriever who was up for adoption.  Then we knew our hearts were sold.  Sold on the Golden breed.  You've never met a more loyal dog.  Or one who would retrieve until the cows come home.

I knew I missed having someone to share a bowl of popcorn with when the kids were tucked in bed at night, the pure joy and sloppy wet kisses when I returned home from a day of errand running, and the excuse to go for a long walk in the middle of the day, enjoying the sunshine and fresh air.  But I do not think I realized just how much I missed all of it until we brought our energetic pup home from her foster home, claiming her as ours.  Our Hattie.

I can truly and honestly say that Hattie has improved the well being of all of my family.  She has helped heal our hearts from Summer's loss.  Just petting her makes me feel more calm and relaxed. And it turns out that there's research to back me up.  Allen R. McConnell, professor of psychology at Miami University says, "We found that pet owners, on average, were better off than non-owners, especially when they have a higher-quality relationship with their pets."  Read more about Allen R. McConnell, PhD’s pet research here.  Hattie has become Camden's sidekick, helping him feel less lonely when his human playmates are at school all day.  And she definitely makes us get out and exercise more often.  Not get a walk in each day?  She wouldn't even consider it!  And I feel certain I throw a ball for her to fetch at least one hundred times a day.

Above all things I believe in love.  Love is like oxygen--love is a many splendored thing--love lifts us up where we belong.  All you need is love! 

~Christian from The Moulin Rouge

I believe if our pets could talk, this is what they would say to us.  They don’t need fancy food, or pretty collars or the latest toy, they just need someone to pet them.  To hug them.  To love them.  And in turn, they give us grace like no human ever could, they have the ability to save us (physically and emotionally), and they are relentless in their love for us.

Puppyspot's infographic hits the nail on the head in terms of how a dog can improve your life and overall wellbeing.  I know my home will always be filled with the cheerful sounds of nails clicking on the floor, the feel of fluffy fur under my feet at the dinner table, just waiting for scraps, the wagging tail at the door, hopeful for a walk or a fetch session, and yes, even the smell of wet dog after a swim in the lake.  

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