Even in the worst of times, there's one thing about my life that consistently brings be joy everyday, one face that, without any sort of judgement, loves me just as I am with all my flaws and idiosyncrasies. This individual hangs on my every word, is always at my side, can tell when I need a little extra cheering up and is always happy to provide an ear (or two) to listen in exchange for a scratch. He's my best friend, though I genuinely love my entire family very much. Yep, folks, he's my dog.
This fluffy little rascal whom we named River, I'm convinced, saved my life a few years ago when, against my husband's better judgement and wishes, I bought him with my daughter from a local rescue group for my birthday. At the time we were living in a tiny apartment, two cats and three people, and I was suffering from what I can only describe as one of the most crushing bouts of depression I've ever experienced. For whatever reason, I felt compelled to bring another living thing into the mix of the madness that was our lives at that time, but it is a decision I would never change for a million years. Not only did bringing River home force me up and out of bed at a time when the very idea of doing so was exhausting, he brightened up life for all of us, gave my daughter a live-in best friend and gave me hope.
River is my constant companion. He sleeps by my side of the bed, watches me write in the living room during the evening hours, shares his toys with me and follows me everywhere, even to the bathroom. During thunderstorms, we share our anxiety with each other and hide in the laundry room together as we weather the storm. He still gently nudges me awake every morning around 8 am to let him out and remind me to get out of bed and that life is indeed exciting, full of love and worth living. On more than one occassion, he's used his scruffy doggy mane to dry my tears as I've hugged him tight.
I can't imagine life without him and as I spend all this extra time at home lately closing one chapter of my life and beginning another, I am so blessed that he's here to share it with me. Thanks, River, for being this girl's very best friend.