It really does seem like JUST a short time ago, when I was begging my new husband for a puppy. Some friends of ours had an " oopsie" litter of lab pups, but just being married for only a month, in a rental that said NO DOGS, Jared said NO.
So, I did what any Shaylyn would do...I tricked him.
we went out for a 'drive'...right to our friends house with the puppies. And there in a sea of pooch breath, soft fur and pure adorable-ness, was just ONE chocolate lab, with all his black brothers and sisters!
Even Jared couldn't resist.
The plan worked.
We took home our first baby.
Now to name him.
We examined him and decided from his sturdy features and BIG paws he would grow to at least 120 pounds.
Nope. His brother, Buck did. But, he never tipped the scales past 77.
So, a Future - big - dog , needs a BIG name. Kujo.
You see, Kujo added a lot to our lives.
Mostly in the form of messes and trouble.
He would cry all night, so I would take him to the couch, read him "101 Dalmatians" until he would fall asleep.
He would poo in his kennel and walk through it. And in our couch cushions.
More than once he chewed through doors and trim and carpet, and toys and shoes. And...and, anything that could be chewed.
He humped more visiting friends legs than I care to recall.
He jumped from the bed of our pick up truck...while Jared was driving.
Must've seen a squirrel.
He was so much bad, it was hard sometimes to see his good...
until last night.
12 and a half years later...
I needed to get into a specific room in our house to do something, and there he lay sleeping, infront of the door.
I asked him to move.
He looked at me.
I encouraged him again.
He shifted his weight.
I looked into His cloudy, old eyes, and surveyed the big patch of white around his muzzle, and it hit me.
Its not that he didn't want to move, it was that my dog, whom we called the 'Energizer Bunny", that never slowed down a minute of his life, couldn't.
I got down next to him, hugged him, told him I loved him and that he was the best dog ever, and that he didnt have to move, because it wasn't important.
It actually was, but it would wait.
The last couple years, as he's aged, my patience with him, has grown so thin.
He can't hold his bowels and has an accident almost every night in the house.
He can't see or hear well, so he barks at everything...and the neighbors complain.
He panics now when we leave and chews our house to shreds.
But, in my frusteration, I remembered some amazing things about him.
He follows my kids outside and keeps a close eye on them and lets me know if anything gets within a 100 yards of them.
He knows his left paw from his right paw, how to dance, crawl and speak!
All those nights he kept me up, all the poo and puke I cleaned up, all the things he ruined, weren't because he needed me.
He never did.
I needed him.
I needed him to teach me some patience. And that nothing here is eternal. You cant take beautifully stained trim work to heaven with you, so dont get mad when a dog chews it off the wall.
He taught me to worry. Because he found himself hurt more times than not, for his mischievous mind would wander him to bad situations.
He told taught me how to love something even when it acted like a hopeless fool.
He visits our neighbors almost everyday.
He actually dives off the dock, grabs the rope swing in the air and swings from it over the water!
He barks ferociously at the UPS man...never has bitten him, but also has never taken his treats.
He really, truly prepared me to be a mom to my five ( human!!) Kids.
Without him I would not have had all these, sometimes awful experiences to learn growth from.
He has pushed me to my limits, like kids can.
He follows me around, attached to my heal when hes scared. Like kids can.
He's always happy to see me.
Has a guilty look of wrong doings, before I even know what hes done.
He is obsessed with his tennis ball. A.K.A His Girlfriend.
He hates to be cuddled, but hates to be alone.
Hes a constant fixture in the room, keepin watch over our house and keeping to himself, and suddenly I feel like he might not be there much longer, and it breaks my heart.
As much trouble as hes caused, I could not imagine the last 12 years without his crazy antics and trouble making.
So, to the "Marley & Me" in my life, you're the best, most energetic, nutsiest, craziest, most protective, loyal, sweetest, smartest, naughtiest, cutest dog I could have ever been blessed with.
Thanks for letting me smother you, when I know you hated every human, physical touch we made you endure.
Thank you for peeking in the car seats, ever so gently, everytime we brought a new baby home from the hospital. And thank you for sitting quietly at my feet, while I cried, when our baby didn't make it home from the Hospital.
Thank you for being excited for all the Christmas presents I wrapped for you and made you open.
Thank you for snuggling the cats on cold winter nights...yep, I seen that :)
Thank you for being excited about me bringing home groceries, because you were certain I brought you home a treat too.
Thank you for Pre-wrecking my house, so I wouldn't get mad at my kids for wrecking stuff.
Thank you for being my first baby boy.
You would've been you, no matter what home you ended up in, because you never really needed me.
It was me who needed you.
Never forget that old boy.
So, I'm gonna make sure you get rewarded for all the life you've added to our years, for the rest of your days.
I'm sorry in the chaos, your antics drove me nuts. You did a lot of good that got over looked.
I can't imagine what that day will bring when I kiss you good bye for the last time, so for every moment until then, I'm going to spoil your tail off. Because you deserve it.