My fur baby, Maggie
It sounds cliche to say that having my first child changed my life, but it did. I had hoped for a strapping baby boy, and I definitely got my wish! Much later, and better prepared for parenthood (I thought), I welcomed my second son. However, I was sick with anxiety and post-partum depression, and had horrible nightmares of dropping the new baby down the stairs, over the railing, or some other unimaginable tragedy, always with the same, inevitable result. I spent a lot of time in a cold sweat, nerves jumping up and down as if on a psychological trampoline.
One of the ways I found some relief was to rest with my infant son. With my hand on his chest, listening to him breathe, a feeling of relaxation would sweep over me, soothing my anxious brain like a lullaby.
Time has passed and my children have grown. No longer can I lie with my hand over their hearts, marveling at their capacity to soothe and heal.
In May of this year, I adopted my fur baby, an American Staffordshire Terrier named Maggie. True to her two-legged brothers, she has the wonderful power to settle down and heal her human mother. Time after time, when Life has chewed me up, I call to my dog and lie with her, stroking her chest or back as the demons work their way out of my brain. Patiently she stays by my side while my nerves un-frazzle. It is a continual source of consternation and amazement to me that others would fight these nurturing creatures, or limit people’s ability to have one as a companion. Am I going to win any Better Homes & Gardens awards for my sparkly-clean house? No. In the earlier years, my home had a wealth of toy trains, cars, airplanes, robots, Disney movies, and Cheerios dotting the carpet and furniture. Now, my house is littered with shreds of “guaranteed indestructible” dog toys, dog accessories, dog-hair dust bunnies and the like, but, I don’t care, because in my fractured daily existence, my dog helps keep me whole. And that is far more important than a perfect house. It makes the kids growing up a little easier, too. Thank you, Maggie.