His story starts with a Facebook post…a family at our church looking for a new home for their new puppy…But not quite sure they could really give him up…Me questioning why I would possibly think a new dog would be a good idea at this point, but letting them know we were interested if they decided not to keep him…
Then a drive to Louisiana to get Rob from rehab and bring him home.
And that weekend, a message saying we could have him. Making arrangements to bring him over as a surprise to the girls. Early Christmas gift. When “Santa” Phil brought Buddy over that night, with all of his supplies, house trained (thank you) there is no way he and Tammy could have known the gift they gave us.
They couldn’t have known that Rob had just gotten home from rehab. Or that although the girls had missed their daddy, they weren’t quite sure they were ready for him to come home yet. I wasn’t sure. What possibly could have happened in 45 days that would keep Rob from drinking? Was it long enough? Could I believe the things he said on that long drive back home? If he really was sober, how would that change our family? Would things be better? Awkward? Worse?
No one could have known that less than a week later my grandma would unexpectedly pass away and, less than a week after Rob promising me I wouldn’t have to handle any more family things on my own, the girls and I would leave Rob and Buddy at home while we traveled to Ohio because he couldn’t miss any more work after just getting back…Or what a relief it was to me to know that Rob would have his new best friend to keep him company, even while I struggled with my anger at having to do this on my own…once again…
I couldn’t tell them what a gift Buddy was to us. That the girls had been begging for a dog, but that at the time we couldn’t have possibly afforded all of the cost that comes with a new puppy…or all of the things that came with Buddy that they just gave to us. I know my thank you’s were inadequate. My pride stopped me from telling them just how much their gift meant to me…to our family. I wrote note after note, always tearing them up, unable to put my heart in to words.
I hoped they would just know how much we loved him. That maybe that would be thank you enough. It wasn’t. It isn’t.
They couldn’t have known that a short few months later, Rob would relapse…and how many tears would be absorbed in to Buddy’s soft fur…The countless nights our girls spent cuddled up to him, crying themselves to sleep, feeling so safe with him in their beds. Or how often he would lay on Rob’s side of the bed, keeping me company when I felt so alone.
His ears the only ones to hear so many secrets, heartaches and dreams…His eyes, the same deep brown of our girls’, seeing…sensing…whose bed he needed to be in that night. His back the perfect resting place for our girls’ heads when sleep wouldn’t come…His silly running around in circles bringing laughter, showing us how he could sit and shake and catch a treat we would throw at him. Taking us for walks around the neighborhood, because even as a puppy, he pulled us!
In 13 days, Rob will have been sober for 2 years. So much has happened since Buddy became part of our family. So many things he does bring us joy and laughter every day.
He still sleeps with whoever he wants to…He has his own recliner…He still runs around in circles like a crazy dog…He growls at the girls when they wrestle with Rob…He doesn’t like any other dogs except my Aunt Vanna’s Shih Tzu, Libby, who he loves and misses every day…He gets bows in his hair when he goes to the groomer even though he’s a boy…He’s almost figured out how to open the door that goes out to the garage…He pouts every time we get ready to leave…He loves riding in the jeep with the top off.
He loves our family fiercely.
Recently, Tammy has messaged me a few times with another gift…Once again, I can’t put my heart in to words to thank her. Because once again, I feel lost and unsure…So I know my response is always inadequate…
How do you thank the angels God has placed in your life? Especially those you know only enough to say hello to, but not much more…People who have given you priceless gifts without expecting anything in return…maybe without even knowing how precious their gifts are to you…When you feel broken and torn apart and you can barely manage words…How do you tell someone their prayers give you hope…and that every time they tell you they’re praying you have to hold back your desperate plea to beg them to never stop praying…
Thank you will never be enough.
So I will pray you can hear my heart.