Just under a year ago, my dog died. This moment was one of the hardest my family and I have ever had to deal with, but it brought me to some important realizations. I may have been upset, but I have no nagging regrets or sadness because I believe everything happens for a reason.
For the first years of my life, I was terrified of dogs. In fact, terrified might even be an understatement. If I saw a dog while I was in town with my family, I would go through the trouble of climbing up to my dad’s shoulders to get to safety. God forbid the savage animal would get within 50 feet of me, or even worse… lick me! I never imagined there would be a day when I would rejoice to have this same creature come running at me every time I walked through the front door.
When my cocker spaniel, Ivy, came along in the summer before third grade, she changed my life forever. All of a sudden we had a yappy little puppy running laps around our living room. And yes, I was in a state of shock. I was constantly perched atop the couch or on the kitchen counter— it didn’t matter where as long as I was out of the 7 pound puppy’s reach— and when I had to move, I would wait until she was out of sight before tiptoeing my way from place to place.
But as time went by, this tiny ball of energy grew on me. I loved how she would stare at me when she knew I was leaving as if she wanted me to stay forever. I treasured the way she would bark her head off at friends coming in the door like she was a huge guard dog warning me of an intruder. But most of all, it gave me a warm feeling to know I had a companion beside me every time I needed her. She was always there to give me kisses or to curl up next to me when I would lie down on the couch.
I thank Ivy for teaching me to love dogs. As my mom would say, she is my guardian angel because she came into my life to help me get past my paralyzing fear, and she continues to watch over me. I believe I know why Ivy was a part of my life, and although I can’t quite figure out why she was taken away so suddenly, I am at peace because I know everything happens for a reason.
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