Happiness is a Big Yellow Dog

A couple of years ago, my husband and I were struggling financially. Like many people, major reductions in income had caused problems and we were juggling bills. Having never been in this situation before, and searching diligently for employment for nearly a year, I had fallen into a hopeless state of mind, which I now recognize as major depression.

Our family's dog had died the year before, and I missed her desperately. She had grown up with our kids, who were now grown and out of the house (adding empty nest syndrome to things weighing on my mind) and been the perfect dog. A chow and collie mix, she was protective of the kids and I and the perfect watchdog, she never chewed a thing in the house or had accidents. We’d had a yellow lab visit us when we grilled burgers on the deck of our house, and she was the sweetest and most gentle dog I’d ever met. She lived on the next street, and when they found out how she was escaping from the yard, they put a stop to her visits.

Realizing that I needed help to bounce back from this dark place, my husband found an ad for yellow Labrador retriever puppies online. When the local breeder put the ad online for these last two “clearance” puppies, it seemed like the time was perfect. My daughter and I drove to the breeder’s and had the most awful time deciding between these two sweet puppies. The one we picked in the end was the adventurous one who seemed to get into everything. I often regret not taking them both home with me.

Within a few hours, I was totally in love with this adorable little fellow, and everything he did amused me—even when he chewed up my new shoes and my eyeglasses. He had a hard time conquering all the steps in our house the first day, but by the second or third day, he was racing up and down them, circling the kitchen island at high speed, and pouncing on Daddy while he sat in his recliner watching TV. He chased his squeaky ball and skidded across the hardwood floors. We started taking walks together and frequenting the doggie parks in the area, which forced me to get out of the house and socialize with other people. Everywhere we went, people made a big fuss over what a pretty dog he is, and people want to meet him. Drive thru windows became fun as he waited excitedly but patiently for a biscuit or ice cream pup cup from Dairy Queen. Because he’s a lab, he loves the water, and we’ve driven to Florida each winter since he came into our lives, and the three of us swim and have a great time together. Last week, a lady was fishing near the doggie beach and casted out a red and white bobber shaped like a ball, and he “retrieved” it for her. He was interested in the puffer fish she caught, too.

I used to laugh at people who treated their dogs like their children, but now I fully understand it. He is like our baby and we spoil him rotten. When one of us is not feeling well, he lies by our side and puts his head on our shoulder or our belly. He sits on the sofa and watches TV with his head in my lap (but never in the middle, he likes the end seats.) He goes in the car with us wherever we go, and if we both go in the store, he guards the car for us. He stays home only rarely, and when we come home, he is thrilled to see us. What more could you ask for from your best friend?

This guest post was written by Denise Gabbard. After a career shift a few years ago, she is a professional writer and online marketing professional, and this post is courtesy of nonstick cookware sets.


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