Thursday, April 9, 2009

Happy Birthday Baby

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.

18 comments:

ViolinMama said...

Pets ARE precious. Sometimes the soul of a pet affects me more than a person ever could (I cringe more at stories of crimes against animals sometimes more than people!) So I totally get your post here. They are part of the family. Thanks for sharing those precious stories with us. What a special dog. Keep enjoying her!!!

Kara said...

Happy Birthday Brandy!!!

Pat in CA said...

Happy Birthday Brandy!!

Kelly said...

Awww...Happy Birthday Brandy! I know what it's like to have a dog baby! SO SWEET!!

Jennifer Everett said...

Happy Birthday Brandy!! We have dog like this too. So much love is given by them!!

Bubba&SistersMom said...

My sweet dog of 16 years, Penny, died soon after I met my husband-to-be. She had been sick with heart problems for quite awhile. My soon to be hubby said "I think she knew she could trust me to take care of you...so she let go" Dogs really do "know" Happy Birthday Brandy!!!!

Liz said...

That is a BEAUTIFUL picture! What a sweet dog!

Ryan, Jennifer, Riley and Peyton said...

Happy Birthday Brandy!!! And many more to come. And by the way, I absolutely LOVE this picture. It is awsome. God Bless you all!!

The Morgan Family said...

Dogs ARE our best friends! Happy Birthday, Brandy!

Tracy said...

that pic rocks my socks! awesome awesome pic!!!

Kelly said...

Oh, she's so sweet!! Happy Birthday Brandy!

Tammy said...

What can I say, your Baby B is a love like no other! Happy Birthday girl, may you get extra treats!!

Ashley H. said...

Awwwww.....touching and sweet! Happy birthday Brandy!!!!

LaJodster said...

Happy Birthday Brandy!!
The 9th happens to be my fue baby "Chevy's" 8th bday as well. I understand the love you have for her!

Jody

Jenny said...

Jody--your dog's name is Chevy? Really? That was our collie growing up!! He was the BEST dog ever (sorry, yes, even better behaved then B). We loved that dog. He died when I turned 18 and it was one of the few times I ever saw my father cry in my life.

One crazed mommy said...

Every time I read Brandy stories it makes me smile and makes me tear up at the same time. I know I've posted before about our golden, Brandon, who lived to the ripe old age of 12 1/2. Brandy reminds me so much of him...I have a picture of Brandon trying to crawl get in my dad's lap while he was sitting in the recliner while visiting us...his hands are thrown up in the air and he exclaimed "What does this dog think he's doing?" And we laughed and told him he wants to sit in your lap...regardless of the fact that he weighed 73 lbs. LOL! We used to joke and say he thought he was the size of a football. :) They are precious - I hope your baby had a wonderful b-day! Did you buy her a pair of socks? :)

snekcip said...

Jenny I have followed your beautiful family through Allie's illness and YES I can remember the Brandy AKA *the sockhound* and how she grieved for Allie! It's amazing the understanding that animals have! What a beautiful testimony of a pet's love! We have a toy schnauzer that is so treasured and so very comical! Her and our little one are SO CLOSE! Paris *the schnauzer* is so PROTECTIVE of Bree, when someone comes to the house we have to literally put her on the patio if Bree is anywhere around! She runs around Bree in circles and goes into "a barking" furor! No matter how much we try to SHUSH her, she still goes crazy...That is until Bree (who's only 2!!!)screams PARIS....HUSH RIGHT NOW! The dog obliges and sits downs (but still grumbles underneath her breath) IT'S HILARIOUS!!!

We even found Bree "brushing the dogs teeth"!! Yep she had straddle the poor dog and the dog was lying flat on her back as Bree calmly brushed her teeth w/MY HUSBANDS toothbrush and WATERMELON flavored toothpaste....oh...don't worry....the dog loved it!!!! The poor dog had a "green fur around her mouth" for a few days!! I SHOULD HAVE TAPED IT....and submitted it to AFV, I COULD probably be $10,000 richer!!!

PS We threw the toothbrush away

HAPPY BELATED BIRTHDAY, BRANDY!!!

LaJodster said...

Jenny,
Yes our dog's name is Chevy. My husband bought him for my birthday in 2001 the first year we were married! My father in law is retired from GM and my husband has always had Chevy trucks, so that's how I chose it. He's a Shih Tzu. You & I have 2 other simularities, if I can sound non-stalkerish. I found your story through babycenter many years ago when Allie was sick. I also have a 2003 baby named Evan.(He was born 2/1/03) So I have followed your blogs since then, In 2005 when I had my second son(in march) Andrew you had Miss Maggie! So while you have the girls, we have the boys! LOL
I have to tell you, I think you are an amazing woman to endure such a loss and do such positive work in Allie's memory. You are truly an inspiration!
And please don't think I'm stalker-ish! LOL

Keep up the good work!
Jody