Yesterday, Denny Basenji turned seven. That makes for a spry 49 years in dog years. Seven years. It goes by so quick. Too quickly, I think.
It seems like just yesterday, I brought home this shivering, snuggly 6-lb bundle of love. Part of me feels ready for the sleep depravation of having a baby (if and when, God-willing, it happens! Send fertile thoughts my way! LOL) because for the first 7 months of having Denny, I was up every two hours, then every three hours. When I finally got 6 hours of sleep around 6 months, I thought the clouds had parted and the heavenly host was singing hosannas! LOL
But it was worth it. Every 4:00 a.m. snuggle session with Denny built the bond stronger between us. I used to sit on the floor of the kitchen with him shivering in my lap (it was late winter when I got him). As he insisted on climbing into my lap, I let him and petted him and snuggled him until he fell asleep.
The most amazing thing happened to my heart, then.
Remember from "The Grinch" how his heart grew six sizes in one day? Well, that's how I felt. I was amazed at the new depths of love and devotion of which I was capable of. This little creature that was completely depending on me for everything had become the most amazing little life within the shelter of my life.
I would tear up (am tearing up now, but don't tell anyone) at the thought of how much I could love another living being. Denny was only six pounds, but he filled my heart like a three-ton truck. Blessed is the person whose heart is opened by a dog.
So, I got Denny partly in thinking that he would help me recover from a kidney transplant that was coming down the road. He did, eventually, by forcing me to walk twice a day, which helped improve my recovery and kidney function after the transplant. But, during a painful divorce and far too many life changes, he has been the soft, warm, quiet, pawing-me-in-the-face-to-not-stop-petting-him presence.
When I started dating my now-husband Eric, I worried about Denny and Eric meeting each other. When Denny trotted out of his crate and over to Eric, sniffed him, sighed happily, and sat down on his feet, I knew my gut had been right. Eric was the one.
Side note: ladies - get a dog. Best judge of character you'll ever meet, and always there in the morning. Just saying.
Anyway. Denny grew. I grew. Life changed and got better, and worse, and better, and worse, and better. Eric and I were married, and we became a family with Denny. After cancer surgery, Denny was with me again, getting me walking and being my heating pad when the pain got bad. He knows when I can't sleep, and he gets into bed to snuggle me deep into forgetfulness and rest. He makes me laugh every day, and it truly is the best medicine.
Eric and I love him, and our "family snug time" consists of three spoons, in order of size. Of course, it's hard to doze and drift when the littlest spoon insists on chewing and obsessively licking his paws. But that's a basenji for you!
Hmmm. This was supposed to be a funny post. Or a poem. Or something. It's a bit soppier than I usually do. But, it's from my heart, so I guess I have to trust y'all with it.
As for Denny's tribute, he got cookies and a rubber chicken named Earl. He promptly ate Earl's head off and swallowed it before I could stop him. Luckily for us, he threw it right up. Not too different from a two-year-old, right?
Here's to seven more years of love and life with my little boy.