Puppy Love

“Petting, scratching, and cuddling a dog could be as soothing to the mind and heart as deep meditation and almost as good for the soul as prayer.” -Dean Koontz

I’m a very sarcastic girl.  I get it honestly.  Have you met my Mami yet?  Exactly.  I used to joke about my sweet Jazzy quite a bit. Jeremy and I had been married for exactly one month and a day, when he walks in with the cutest fur-ball I had seen in a long time.  I quickly panicked and asked what was going on.  It was my birthday.  He had brought home Jazzy as my birthday gift.  He was completely in love with this beautiful beagle with green eyes and I immediately began to cry.  I bawled my eyes out….and it wasn’t because I thought he was the sweetest husband, no it was because I didn’t want a dog and Jeremy knew that.   I didn’t want the responsibility. I wasn’t ready.  It was January, meaning it was dead smack in the middle of basketball season when Jeremy is never home, so it would be my responsibility to train this cute puppy and to sacrifice my sleep for potty training….I was just not ready and I was obviously selfish.  But like most things, with time Jazzy and I became best friends.  After having the girls Jazzy wasn’t getting all my attention anymore and unfortunately took a back seat in our family.  I wish I could say otherwise but I can’t.  Although she was no longer my one and only baby, I still loved her and when the girls were gone, we would catch up on our love.

Today, Jazzy died in my arms, naturally and peacefully.  Since I am so good at hiding emotions I thought I would be better at this but it hurts.  I lost a piece of my family today.  I honestly haven’t felt pain like this before and sitting here, in my living room without her around feels weird.

But, through all the tears and pain, I realize Jazzy taught me a lot about love and life. Jazzy taught me to live in the now.  They say that when training a dog, you need to keep this idea in mind: dogs do not learn from the past or future. They learn in the now. Therefore, if you’re training your dog to “come,” for example, you shouldn’t give them a treat after they’ve already walked across the room to you, but you should start your praise the moment they start walking in your direction. This is because dogs can’t understand that the reason they’re getting treats is for something they did 20 seconds ago. Everything must be handled in the present. With my busy schedule, I find myself being swallowed by meetings, activities, future trips, birthdays, etc. but just like Jazzy’s mentality, I need to remind myself that sometimes it’s just better to go with the flow, to live in the now.  The now is a beautiful place to be. And in many ways, it’s the only place to be.

Jazzy also taught me to love.  To love unconditionally and to love honestly. How do you love honestly?  Many times we think we need to act professionally, or as a good friend of mine would say, “PC”, meaning politically correct.  But to me, loving like that is a flat-out cop-out and lie.  In relationships, whether it’s with co-workers, friends, or partners, you shouldn’t have to try to decide how you should act.  Many people ask themselves, “Should I shake their hand? Should I play it cool and hold back my smotherings of love? Can I be myself, be silly and give big squeezes to friends I just met or will they think I’m odd, or over doing it?”  I, at times, am guilty of this too. I sometimes over analyze my role in a variety of situations and with all kinds of people to the point where I can’t even figure out how to act. But Jazzy never did that. It didn’t really matter who you were. She would walk over to you and brush on you, lick you, and simply love on you.  Jazzy didn’t play the “how vulnerable should I let myself be?” game.  She loved without hesitation and that was that. I feel like this lesson is so important for our own lives – we don’t need to over analyze how to appreciate other people (Will they think I’m weird? Am I being too mushy?), we just need to love, in whatever way truly feels right.

In the puppy ER tonight, waiting for the vet, I was holding Jazzy like a little baby.  Wrapped in a blanket, rocking and swaying her back and fourth. I gave her a kiss and she licked me back.  Her beautiful green eyes rolled back and she calmly and quietly went to heaven.  I will miss her so much, but I will forever be thankful for all the things she taught me in life and of course for all of her honest and pure, love and friendship.

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