Before I get to this post, a reminder that I’m running two contests giving away Arcs (advance reading copies) of SHADES OF WICKED, Night Rebel book one, also known as Ian’s book. Details here.
Now, to my post, which has nothing to do with books, publishing, or anything writing-related, so skip if you only want professional stuff. Also, if you don’t love pets, don’t bother reading any further because I’m going to gush about my dog in ways that will make non-pet-lovers gag. Seriously, you’ve been warned.
All right, anyone who’s spent more than ten minutes with me knows that I have dogs. My youngest dog, Loki, is six and a half, and my oldest dog, Gypsy, is fourteen and a half. I love them both to pieces, but today, I’m only going to talk about Gypsy. Sorry, Loki, but since you don’t read, I’m sure you’ll get over it ;).
At Gypsy’s advanced age, I know I’m not going to have her much longer. Being a writer, I’ve thought about penning a piece about her once she’s gone to talk about what an impact she’s had on my life. However, I also know myself. When she’s finally gone, I’ll be a heartbroken wreck and unable to string together two words about her without breaking down. That’s why I decided to write this now. Pet lovers, I’m sure you understand. Non-pet-lovers, last chance: GO.
First, some background: when my husband and I first brought Gypsy home, we were still reeling over the deaths of our beloved ferrets (side note: you don’t have to like ferrets, but please don’t say anything negative about them in the comments because to this day, I have no tolerance for that.) Sure, I’d had dogs and cats growing up, but I’d never had a dog as an adult. When we brought Gypsy home, I’ll be honest – my expectations weren’t that high. So, if I’d bothered to pray at all about what I hoped for, it would have probably sounded something like this:
Dear God, please don’t let this pet die anytime soon. You know none of our ferrets lived much past age six and I can’t take any more grief for a while, kthxbye.
What I didn’t know then, yet know now after having Gypsy for nearly fifteen years, is that I could have prayed this:
Dear God, I need a furry bundle of absolute, unconditional love. I’m talking about something that will dance around my feet with joy every single time I walk in the door, even if I’ve only been gone an hour and even if, many years later, her arthritis acts up so much that she takes a little while to make it over to me. She also has to sit close whenever I’m sad, make me laugh at the endless cute things she does, quietly lay beside me if I’m sick, and provide me with priceless companionship if I’m alone. She has to do all these things with a joy that can’t be muted even when I don’t give her all the treats she wants, or if I’m busy with work and don’t give her the attention she seeks. She has to immediately forgive my faults, such as taking her to her most hated place (the vet) and my frequent absent-mindedness (I didn’t see your paw; sorry for stepping on it!) She has to stare at me as if I personally made everything she finds wonderful in life, yet also look at me with complete trust when things are going wrong (her multiple surgeries or her other health issues.) She has to do all this every single day for the next third of my life, all while bringing me joy that can’t be expressed in words because it is too great.
And to that impossible list of hopes, dreams and demands, God would have replied “That’s easy – here she is.”