January 20, 2015 by and

Now that our kids are in junior high, they don’t have those Valentine’s Day class parties. For Chris and I, romance has digressed into the form of a nap. In lieu of all the typical celebrations, we make Valentine’s Day a proclaimed day of love for our dog.

I love all dogs and their furry souls. A dog walks by me, and I immediately inquire about the name of the dog, the breed, its age, and its personality. I’m always curious about a dog’s connection to their human.

Before kids, or even marriage, we had Farley the Wonderdog, a 125 pound, loyalty-and-gentle-giant of a black lab. Since I was vetoed on letting him be in our wedding party, Farley was represented at our wedding with a custom-made cake topper. Once the babies arrived, our Farley became our personal service dog. He cleaned up anything on the floor. He would assess the extent of my cooking project and man his station right next to the cutting board.

When the kids learned to crawl, he’d keep them corralled. And when they’d get too close, he’d lick them until they toddled away. When they learned to walk, he’d keep an eye on them and then get out of their way, lacking in their judgment of newfound confidence in their upright adventures. On occasion, he’d knock them down with a whap of his tail, just to remind them who’s really in charge.

My kids were 9 years old when we made the heartbreaking decision to put Farley down. They grew up with him. Farley taught us that we have room in our hearts to love dogs. He taught me the profound and still perplexing lesson that dogs will take any love you give them and reciprocate with an exponentially greater rate.

And that is true love. It’s a give of everything you have—regardless if you have thumbs or not. Farley also taught us to clear all food up to six feet high, and hide all shoes. But mostly, he taught us that we have room in our hearts to love another dog.

So that’s when we rescued Maybee. The word “maybe” initiates hope to a child. Our furry family member, Maybee, is a sign of hope and possibilities for all great things to our family. Maybee is a herding dog, and for the first year we had her, she kept the kids in line by nipping them on their backside. I love this dog.

As it stands now, I’m trying to decide if we saved Maybee or if she saved us. Either way, we’ll celebrate Valentine’s Day with our sweet, smart, and beautiful dog. Instead of chocolate and Sweethearts, we’ll take a romantic stroll in the park and give her doggy treats and a rawhide. Thank you, Maybee! We love you!

iStock_000048282902_Large