Click here for "A New Year's Eve to Remember" by M.J. Butler
Did you ever wish that you could speak to your dog from the heart, and that he or she could understand exactly what you are saying? I’m not talking about giving your dog a command “speak” “sit” “stay”, I mean real comprehension of heartfelt words. If there were 3 different sentiments that I could convey to my beloved dog while she is still with us here on earth, these are the things I would want her to know:
1. That I was a better person because of her. In 2002 my oldest son (then 9 years old) wanted a dog. Specifically he wanted a “yellow dog” - like a Labrador. Since we had never had a dog before I was looking for something just a bit smaller. I stopped at my local ASPCA one Friday afternoon to take a peek. I left the shelter that day with the most gorgeous two year old blonde Cocker Spaniel that there ever was. When I picked up my son from school that afternoon, he got in the car and was instantly overtaken by an abundance of tail wagging and wet kisses. I do believe they were both equally excited to meet each other. It was my sister who suggested that we name our dog Honey because of the color of her hair. From that day forward Honey became a permanent part of our family.
There is nothing better than walking through the front door of our home, because when we do Honey greets us with so much excitement and undivided attention that one cannot help but smile. I have learned so much from my precious dog over the years, but most of all I learned to never take the ones we love for granted. To greet them with joy and interest and to let them know that they are appreciated. We are all so busy. How many times do we get home and rush past those we love – on to the next activity. Honey always reminds me to stop for a moment, take a second or two to give a quick hug and to say hello. When I walk through the door, Honey takes the time to let me know she missed me and she is glad that I am back home. I hope I always remember that slowing down for a moment of interest and enjoyment with those we hold dear is of the utmost importance in everyday life. Honey taught me this life lesson years ago and I believe I have been a better person because of it. For this I tell her thank you.
2. I wish she could know how often she has inspired me. Honey, being a dog, cannot speak a word. But she can express more enjoyment with a wag of her tail than most people can during a complete conversation. She also never misses the opportunity to take pleasure in her surroundings. She inspires me to take frequent walks, which makes me healthier. Sometimes when we are walking along in the great outdoors she will just stop, hold her head in the air and close her eyes. She takes in the moment with the sun on her face and the fresh breeze blowing through her hair. So when she does this I do the same - and it is blissful. Honey never misses an opportunity to absorb the sounds, smells, and sights around her. This is one dog who loves to frolic and play. She loves to chase just about anything that will run from her, and she really knows what it means to stop and smell the roses. So I learned from Honey to take a deep breath and feel the sun on my face. She inspires me to take a walk every single day and to behold the beauty of nature. Through Honey I have been taught to seize every opportunity that I can to play, run, skip, dance, or leap. There are chances to do these things every day, but often we do not choose to partake. I only have to watch my furry friend to figure this out, and by observing her I am inspired to live life with much more fervor than I might have without her.
3. I hope she knows every day of her life how much I love her. If I had ten seconds to speak to my dog and she could understand the meaning of each and every word I was saying, my wish would be that I could express how much I love her and how grateful I am for her. I am truly humbled in the presence of Honey’s unconditional love which has filled our household every day of every year since she became part of our family. This unconditional love is mutual and then some. I wish she could know this now more than ever because Honey is getting older. Much of her hair has turned gray and she is completely deaf. She sleeps a lot more than she used to and she moves slower than ever. This month Honey turns 14 years old and I am so thankful that we were granted the gift of getting to spend her entire life with us. A more faithful friend could not have been found if I searched this world over. The absolute adoration that she has for each of us could be matched by none other in my lifetime. She has devoted her life to us. She has protected us and served us. She has waited for us to come home without complaint and she has never once judged us; even in our weakest hour. If that isn’t a true friend then I don’t know what is.
I guess Honey started showing her age about five years ago; around the time my youngest son was born. A few years later when he was a toddler, I was watching the two of them play together and the sad thought occurred to me that Honey might not be with us to see him go off to Kindergarten. Well I am happy to say that we were blessed to have Honey present with us on the first day of school this year as we put our five year old on the bus and waved goodbye. We even snapped a couple of pictures with Honey at the bus stop alongside our son just as the school bus pulled up to the corner.
Afterward Honey walked back home with my husband and I. My hubby got ready for the day, kissed me goodbye and left for work. After he left the house, Honey sat and looked out the front door; waiting for those she loved to return as she often does. I sat down next to her in the front foyer that day and we shared a moment together. Every day is a gift with those we love – and our moments are to be cherished. Thank you Honey for being here with our family on our baby’s first day of Kindergarten. It would not have been the same without you. The first day of Kindergarten is a tough milestone for us moms. Thank you Honey because you knew I needed my best friend with me that morning. You sat patiently looking out the front door with me as I held you on my lap and tears ran down my face. Then you gently licked the tears from my cheeks as if to say, “Don’t worry mom, he’s gonna be fine; I’m here with you and I love you”.
Thank you beautiful girl for being such an important part of our family, for looking out for us, and for teaching us all about what is really important in life.
I love you Honey, my faithful friend, from the bottom of my heart. I pray that you really do know this and that you carry this with you forever. Because in the end love is all there ever will be. ~ Love always, M.J. Butler
Click here for "A New Year's Eve to Remember" by M.J. Butler