Today, my sweet baby turned eight years old. Are you kidding me? Eight? In 2001, Brandy came home to us as a five week old butterball. It was the end of my first year of teaching, and my earnings from being the Plano ISD Beginning Teacher of the Year bought me the one thing I wanted--a golden retriever. She came home on Mother's Day 2001 and I was in love.
My girl has been my constant companion for the past eight years. She smells. She's expensive. She steals all my socks and carries them throughout the house. I literally find myself searching for a matching pair of socks and mumbling my annoyance at this behavior on a daily basis (of course with a chuckle in my voice at the same time) She's gentle and sweet. She will lick you to death and step over the child to get to me. Craves attention and often forgets that she's over 70 pounds, thinking she can crawl in my lap with ease. Neurotic has been used to describe her more than once, especially in her first few spasdic crazy years.
I can't remember if I've ever shared the story of how Brandy, our "BB," acted after Allie died. If I did, please forgive my indulgence of sharing the story again. When Allie was born, B was in love. She was the sweetest dog I could have asked for. Each morning, before I usually even heard the sounds of the baby crying on the monitor, I had the dog licking me to wake me up. As soon as my feet hit the floor, she bolted across the house to be in front of the crib. She laid down on the floor next to the blanket during tummy time. She protected the baby.
Allie's death was devastating on all of us, even the dog. Being my sockhound, Brandy found her own way to express her grief. She found two baby socks. She carried these two baby socks around the house everywhere. For close to a month, she crawled up in a ball in front of the nursery room door whining and crying with the socks in a wad in her mouth. It was heartbreaking. Finally, we got her used to being just the two of us again. When I got pregnant with Maggie, she clung to me. She could sense it. I often joke that if she could crawl in the womb, she would. That's how close she wants to be with me.
Brandy has never fully recovered from Allie's death. She has never loved Maggie as intensely as she did Allie. Granted, she adores her and is by her side when she eats, but some of that is simply because she learned very quickly the advantage of a small child--food.
If you can't tell enough what this dog really means to me. OK, I have to stop and laugh right now. As I'm typing all this, Brandy just came up to me with her mouth full. The contents? One tank top, a pair of little girls underwear, three socks, and her pink teddy bear (her "baby"). Seriously, this is every night. Cracks.me.up.
I love my dog. Happy Birthday to my first baby.