That one day, way back in 2004. For some reason, even though I didn’t have any pets, I walked into Petsmart. They were having an adoption event. I saw her. In a temporary pen, surrounded by a bunch of other puppies. But she stood out. It was her eyes, and her smile. I picked her up. I put her back down a few minutes later and walked away. For some reason, I turned to look back. She was standing up watching me walk away. I went back. That was almost 13 years ago. She weighed maybe 3 pounds. She weighs 70+ today.
We’ve been through a lot together. A sister 2 years later. Another a few months ago. A divorce. The sale of my company. A romance and a wedding. A move across the country for a really shitty job, another one back for a really good one, and three houses in the course of one tumultuous year. Oh, and those two moves? 5 days each way in a car, because she’d be terrified to fly. Bright side? I wouldn’t have been to Flagstaff, Amarillo or Little Rock, much less twice in a year, without those journeys.
She’s been there for me every day, still with those eyes, still with that smile. Over her 12+ years, I’ve traveled more than 3 million miles. Every time I have come home, she greets me like I’ve been gone forever, jumping, spinning, rubbing up against me. But not too much, because she’s always been a little bit aloof. She loves to be loved, to a point. She loves to cuddle, to a point. She also loves her alone time. She oftentimes will just go to another room, or outside, or even to the bed she has in my closet – her private safe place. Maybe because she was abandoned young, and almost never made it. Maybe because she has her own independent streak a mile wide. And she is very regal, somewhat “above the fray”.
I call all my dogs my “favorite”. I tell them all they are the “best doggie ever”. And I am not lying, they all are. But Lula is my first. I tell FMG all the time that “Lula knows everything” because deep down inside, I think she really does. She knows right from wrong, she knows happy from sad. She knows me better than anyone. She knows she hates thunderstorms and fireworks.
Today is another “That One Day”. The last three weeks have been brutal. She woke up on a Friday with a bump on her side that seemed weird, like maybe a bad bug bite. 3 weeks later, it was nearly the size of a volleyball. Sarcoma. Cancer. As I write this, she is undergoing surgery. I watched her walk away with the veterinary technician to her surgery a couple hours ago. She first put her butt down and anchored, as if to say “no way I’m going back there, dude”. Then I started to walk with her. She looked at me. With those eyes. And that smile.
As always, comments and shares appreciated.