To explain how I became a dog lady, we need to start from the beginning.
First, there was Bandit. Bandit was 8(?) when we got him. He was a great first pet, because he was already trained, was extremely mellow, and extremely loving. He was also my pet- because he always ended up sitting by me or sleeping with me in bed.
Exhibit 1. Also that floral combination is on point!
In junior high I had a dog ,Buddy Guy. Buddy Guy was the best dog. He slept next to me every night and would bark whenever I tried to kiss my scumbag of a boyfriend. I remember staying up late at night, crying and telling him all of my secrets. I wouldn’t have called myself a dog lady then- not yet.
Buddy Guy was my man. Damn the coyotes who killed him.
After Buddy Guy’s tragic death, our family waited awhile before getting another animal. It wasn’t until I was on my own with my now husband that we decided to get a dog. My husband had never had a dog, so I was super excited! We went to our shelter and found the perfect little funky man who I immediately named Einstein. That lasted a day before he made me change it to Sam.
For Samuel Clemens. I’m from Missouri- Mark Twain is kind of in my blood.
Everything was actually pretty normal with Sam. Yeah, we took an engagement photo with him (a week after he was adopted- he looks much better now!) but you know, otherwise things were completely normal. We cuddled on the couch, went for walks, took too many Facebook photos, etc.
And then I got sick. I have epilepsy. I had been seizure free for almost two years, so with the blow of losing my license and independence came a crippling depression and suicidal thoughts. I stayed at home, missing work for 3 months. I would sleep for days at a time. I didn’t dare venture outside, for the anxiety could trigger a seizure. So I had Sam. He would lick my tears. I knew I would go outside at least twice a day to let him outside. He pushed me, but then would also cuddle me all day while I watched American Dad nonstop.
Happy little man.
Slowly my seizure meds were changed, I was put on antidepressants and I started sleeping less. The crying didn’t stop, but it was an improvement. And then the local shelter posted a picture of a dog who had been there for over a month, despite being adorable. Like my first dog, Bandit, she was older. For some reason I just needed to have her, take care of her. That’s the only time I felt better- when I was taking care of someone.
So I went and adopted Scruffy.
She’s not scruffy at all.
Soon my energy levels started picking up. My husband and I would take the dogs for a walk every night. I would do laundry every day. I would go out and water my garden.
And then I started leaving the house. Sure, it was to my grandma’s house, and the dog’s had to go with me, but it was a step. My grandma and I would talk about them, make them little treats, and sit on the porch with them. It was very relaxing.
And then I would go to my mom’s house with them. Slowly I was recovering, thanks to my dogs. Now I’m able to go out without them, but sometimes I still hurry home to give them extra cuddles when a room is too loud or I’m just having a bad day.
So- that is the background. Last week I was sitting in the living room messing on my phone when I looked up. Sam was walking towards the kitchen when I told my husband, “He needs to poop.”
"How can you tell?"
"His asshole is red."
And that is how I know I am a dog a lady. Not only do I talk to my dogs, owe my recovery to my dogs (and my husband), but I can tell when my dogs need to defecate before they do. Sure enough I took Sam outside and he released a big one.
My little nurses.
There’s no hope for me. I’m a dog lady.