A Letter to the Family Dog (a.k.a. my favorite daughter)
I know that you and I have had many meaningful conversations though the years, but I’m not sure I ever told you that you owe your very existence to lupus. Yes, I admit that you would have “existed” without lupus, but we would not have been lucky enough to have you as part of our family.
“How?” you ask.
You see, I never thought I was a dog person and certainly never envisioned a big hairy fur-dropping canine living in this little house. I deemed myself, instead, a cat person for reasons which may not be obvious to you. I have a personality resembling that of a feline. I like peace, quiet, and solitude. I only want to be around humans on my terms – otherwise I just may run away and hide. I like to sleep, don’t like to go for walks, and find the destruction of mice and other rodents heading my list of priorities.
So how is it that you came to steal a place in my heart? How does your presence in this house owe itself to lupus when the very name of this disease stems from the word “lupine” which means having a wolf-like appearance? Yes, this lovely metaphor comes from the hallmark rash that lupus brings (now more graciously termed the butterfly rash.) If I had wanted a wolf-like dog I would have adopted a german shepherd, not the likes of you – my beautiful labrador retriever.
The answer is simple. You are here because of Megan’s overwhelming yearning for a dog in the midst of a sickness which found me heartbroken. (Now if she had really had her way, you would have been a St. Bernard, but I wasn’t THAT heartbroken!) And yes, we had to go through a tragic series of three other canines before you at last came to rest in our home, but I quickly learned that the fourth time is a charm.
And so, with your leap-frog growth due to doggie years, we have grown old together. You breezed through your teenage years without so much as doggie prom or needing a “pet-a-cure”. You would never declare yourself a vegetarian. You have no need of expensive clothing, boots, or handbags. In fact, you wouldn’t even dream of setting foot in a mall without sporting a leather harness, and me a pair of dark sunglasses.
You, my favorite daughter, have brought joy to a house which has often been saddened by sickness. Although you took no vows upon joining our family, you have been there for us both in sickness and in health – happy to lay by your adoptive sisters’ side as she lay sick and hurting on a couch.
And I thank you for that.
your loving mother,