Sometimes I imagine what my life would be like if I had not opened myself up to the possibility of having a dog. For years I had told my husband, who grew up with dogs, that we would never have a dog. Our two kids were born, and started growing fast, as children tend to do. Thankfully, each with their own unique voice. My daughter, from the time she knew the word, wanted a dog. Still, I said no. I was attached to beliefs I had been raised on. I would not allow myself to see the gifts of loving a dog. We had, after all, given up on the one I had chosen with my family when I was a child.
And, then, nearly three years ago, I decided I not only wanted a dog, I needed a dog. It hit me suddenly, the desire nearly as strong as the urge to have a child. When we rescued Daisy from a shelter about two weeks before my birthday, she rescued me. The love was instant. The bond, tough and fast. It was, as I learned during the first weeks of having her, unbreakable.
Daisy was, we think, six when we got her. A lovable, but obstinate mixed breed, which, as far as we can tell, consists of malamute, collie and golden retriever. We soon realized that Daisy was not going to give up her desire to chase our cats like they were two squirrels. I could live with her tendency to bark at anything with two wheels, and to stop stubbornly during walks if I we weren’t heading in her desired direction, but her prey-drive filled me (and my husband) with guilt. The cats, after all, came first. I talked our options over with the trainer we were using. I talked them over with my husband, who quickly installed cat doors in the basement and the garage. Together we talked with our children. For a good week, we were all filled with turmoil. There were, really, only two options. Keep her, or give her back.
It turns out, we, or should I saw I, could not give her back. Since we made that decision there has not been a moment of regret. A moment does not pass that I am not thankful for allowing our family, including our two cats, to adjust to life with Daisy. Which, we have managed to do so with relative ease and tranquility.
There is a reason my heart yearned for a dog. It cannot be an accident that Daisy and I found each other. She is my nearly constant companion. She is, in many ways, my teacher. She is a spiritual partner on my life path. I’ve learned to laugh at her stubbornness, seeing myself in her. I have followed her lead into the forest of healing. Without a doubt she has changed me, transformed me, and brought me along the path to my true self.
Two years later, almost to the day we brought Daisy home, we got Rosy. She is, in almost every way the opposite of Daisy. We got Rosy when she was still a puppy, lively and fun-loving, she looks to her older sister for guidance. A mid-sized mix of pointer, beagle, hound and who knows what else, Rosy likes to think she’s a lap-dog. She doesn’t bark or try to chase motorcycles or bicyclists, but, like Daisy, she loves chasing cats. While Daisy reminds me to be still and listen, Rosy reminds me to make room for play. We balance each other out.