“Since Brad and I got together later in life, we don’t have any human children together. For us, Dakota is our child. Before we rescued her, I saw how much Brad loved dogs. He’d try to pet every single one we met and he spent a lot of time with my daughters’ dogs. So, I thought he needed his own in his life. In the few short months we’ve had Dakota, you can see how much she’s enriched his life. She’s his buddy. Loving on her is meaningful to him because it’s part of letting her know she’s safe. She’s gone camping with him and she slept in his sleeping bag. They’d lie like spoons and she’d put her nose on his hand. She’s a very lovey dog, and is always searching for more snuggles. She’d start licking his hand, and move in closer and closer, until she was laying on it. Her eyes tell him, ‘you’re my person.’ He’d feel it in his heart and his heart would reply, ‘I love you, too.’
For me, Dakota is helping me mentally prepare for both my girls to be out of the house at around the same time. I’m excited for them, but as a parent it’s a double whammy and I know it will be a hard time for me. I remember my own mother describing her dogs’ movement, and how nice it was to hear late at night after all her kids had moved out. The click of dog nails on the floor, the dog door opening and closing, hearing them wrestle around; it’s going to be my cure for the lonely.
Dogs are a little bit of positive chaos in the middle of daily negative chaos. They’re soothing. As a hospice nurse, I deal with death all the time, talking about it, and helping people come to peace with it. I help provide the peace they need and I truly believe it’s my divine calling, but some days it can be sucky. Visions of coming home to the dogs romping around and being happy, get me through the day. I need to come home to that positive chaos, the brightness, happiness, and liveliness of the dogs. They are life, and they’re appreciative. It’s essential for me. God sure knew what he was doing when he made a dog.”