“This is absurd. It’s just a dog.”
“Just a dog? JUST? Pathos, don’t listen. Pathos dreams of being a bear and you want to shatter those dreams by saying he’s JUST a dog? What a horrible candle-snuffing word. That’s like saying, ‘He can’t climb that mountain, he’s just a man.’ or ‘ That’s not a diamond, it’s just a rock.’ Just!”
(~From the movie, “Finding Neverland”)
Two summers ago our traditional “summer basket” didn’t hold movie tickets or flip flops or water guns or American flags. Instead we filled it with a puppy collar and a food bowl and dog treats and surprised our loves. We drove to VA Beach for the children to pick out our new pup. We sat on the floor surrounded by the white and caramel fur of golden doodle pups and immediately one little guy crawled up on Asher’s lap and nestled into his neck. It was love at first sight for Ash and a confirmation of the one we needed.
Two years ago today we brought him home.
There are pretty much no words for our Cooper. Golden doodles are known for being excellent therapy dogs, and while Coopy-Doop isn’t trained in therapy, he has been an amazing gift in this area for our children… and for me. Two years ago was before we heard those terrible words: stage IV metastatic breast cancer. We didn’t know how we’d truly need him. But God did.
Coop hears tears. There is no other way to explain it. He knows the moment a drop falls, and he comes to our sides to nestle in close and he comforts, worrying over us until we are okay.
His antics make us laugh. His head tilt makes us coo. His tearing open bags and scattering trash through the house makes us scold (y’all should see his ashamed face!). His burrowed face in a couch he’s not allowed to be sleeping on makes us shake our heads. His companionship makes us less lonely. His jumping up on people makes us crazy. His gentle eyes make us tender. His goofiness makes us cackle. His kind face makes us compassionate. His loyalty makes us safe. His unbridled exuberance brings us joy. His life makes ours better.
We had no idea what we were getting ourselves into two years ago.
But it was one of the best decisions we could have ever made.
A person can learn a lot from a dog, even a loopy one like ours. Marley taught me about living each day with unbridled exuberance and joy, about seizing the moment and following your heart. He taught me to appreciate the simple things-a walk in the woods, a fresh snowfall, a nap in a shaft of winter sunlight. And as he grew old and achy, he taught me about optimism in the face of adversity. Mostly, he taught me about friendship and selflessness and, above all else, unwavering loyalty.
(~John Grogan, “Marley and Me”)