Wednesday, June 13, 2007


As a person who grew up with pets, I feel like I have a special appreciation for their place in a home. In fact, I can confidently say that a house is not a home for me at all without pets. Growing up, we had several cats, fish, birds, gerbils, hamsters and Doc. Dr. Tubbs, or Doc for short, was a cute little black dog (1/2 cocker spaniel and 1/2 dachsund) who was with us for 17 years. He grew up along side us- there through all the growing pains, school dances, make-ups and break-ups, departures for college. I never thought I'd love another dog the way I loved Doc.

But then I got married. And with the Husband came McHann. A 2 year old German Shepherd with the sweetest disposition I have ever witnessed in a dog. Plagued by health problems her whole life, McHann has seen more of the vet than any animal ever should. When she developed a benign tumor in her ear, we actually took out a loan to pay for the surgery to fix it before it began pushing on her brain, slowly killing her. She has had an absess in her neck and once ate a dishtowel (I said she was sweet- not particularly bright ;-) and had to have her stomach cut open in 3 places to remove all the fibers. Through it all, she remained sweet, devoted, gentle and relentlessly loyal. She has never growled, snapped, bitten or been at all aggressive towards anyone- not even the Dr. who cut her head open to save her life. Now with only one ear, she has a cock-eyed goofiness that is impossible not to love.

Fast forward to the present-at 10 years old, McHann is starting to show her age. Her hips are stiff and seem painful at times, in spite of the glucosamine supplements prescribed by the vet. She moves slower and has less stamina for long walks or hikes. She sleeps more and her muzzle is gray.

But one thing has not changed: her relentless optimism and love. Each day when we walk through the door, its like Christmas- as though she has not seen us in days and days and is just SO HAPPY we have come back to her. Her big, brown eyes look up at us with the absolute love and trust that seems to be unique to her species. It may sound silly, but we feel truly blessed to have her in our lives.

When the baby comes, I know she will be wonderful. I hope we can continue to provide her with the love and attention she deserves. And as she gets older, I hope we can give her the things she has given us during the 7 years of our marriage: comfort, companionship, friendship, and unconditional love.

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