October 8, 2013: A Dog's Life

My assisted selfie of camera-shy Cookie
I have a confession. I've never really understood the dog-lover thing. A friend once told me there are three types of animal people in the world; those with a capital "A", those with a lower case "a", and those with no "a". I thought I clearly fell in the lower case category. My dog was second behind my kids, but I still loved him. Over the years, I have known many capital "A's" and many with no "a". I was a lower case.

When Harry died, I was very sad. He was a sweet little dog and we missed him dearly. Although Harry did love me back, he equally loved the other people in his life. Harry was everyone's dog and he was happy with that position. And lower case "a", me, was happy with that too.

And then came Cookie. Cookie is my step-dog. She moved to Omaha a month ago. Those who have spent time with Cookie and Garrett know that there is a huge affection between owner and pet. There is no doubt that Cookie is Garrett's dog. Garrett is a capital "A" animal person

Four years ago when I came in the picture, Cookie warmed up to me quickly. She is a smart dog and knew I was around for the long haul. We girls needed to stick together. Garrett remained numero uno in her doggy eyes. I was cordially tolerated.

Others weren't as lucky. Cookie is very picky in her alliances. A growl or light nip is her typical response to being picked up or petted by someone other than Garrett. I would observe Cookie and would at times scratch my head on Garrett's abundant love for this seemingly unfriendly dog. She was so unlike my experience with Harry, my overly friendly dog.

Fast forward to my month as primary caretaker of Cookie. I now get it. I'm hooked. I find myself worrying about her well-being during the day. I many times put her walks and rides in my car ahead of my own agenda. I love being greeted by this little fur ball when I get home from work and can't imagine being in a lonely bed at night without her.

So what changed, you ask? After careful analysis, I now better get the capital "A" animal thing. All things that had previously caused me to raise an eyebrow as I observed Garrett with his dog, I was now doing. And I was loving it.  

With Cookie, it's really simple. She adores her primary caretaker. When Garrett is absent, I fill that role. And Cookie fills me with her unconditional doggy love. We live our lives in an animal/human harmony that has now become a way of life for me while filling my heart. I love this cute little dog. And like Garrett, I find myself oblivious to Cookie's distaste for those outside our tight circle of two.

A step-dog is a good thing. Cookie likes Omaha; my yard, my house, and even my cat. And I like having her here. But no worries, Garrett Brucker. When you are in town, I will step aside and let you and Cookie do your thing. I get the capital "A" animal thing.


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