Happy Birthday, Melvin!

I knew the moment I saw you that you were mine.  Your mug shot appeared on the rescue site and even though I’d never met you, at that moment, I knew.  I drove to Delaware to meet you.  You seemed so happy in your foster house, I wasn’t immediately sure you even liked me. We went on a walk and you were the worst dog on leash that I had ever walked.  It didn’t matter, I made the call on the way home that I wanted to adopt you.  Five days later, you walked into my front door.  That was almost five years ago.

Our first months together felt, impossible.  You were, for lack of better words, a handful.  We spent day after day at the vet and you were also a behavioral nightmare challenge. Let’s face it, Max was nearing the end and I don’t think I was fully able to bond with you while I was preparing to say good-bye to him.  The day we let Max go,  you spent the day at the vet so that we could do it at the house.  I remember saying out loud to someone that I wasn’t sure about you.  I worried I’d never love you the way you deserved. That was the grief speaking.  The grief was wrong. When we went to pick you up that night, as everyone at the practice was hugging and crying and sharing their love of Max, someone brought you out.  You broke free from their grip, zigged and zagged through the crowd and leapt into me, literally.  All at once I felt horrible sadness over Max and unimaginable happiness that you ‘found’ me.

Very early on in our life together I was asked if I wanted you to have ‘quantity of days or quality of life’.  My response was that I wanted your life to measured only in joy.  Through every health issue, you remain happy and resilient.  Max was a dog who made me stop and take the moment in; you are the dog that teaches me to move forward, no matter what.  How many times have we sat with the vet while I cried, and true to form, you lick the tears away.  You don’t dwell, you move on. And you drag me kicking and screaming as you go!

Your presence in my day is a mish-mash of lovely, crazy, joyful, aggravating and hysterical moments. I wake up smiling every morning because of you.  It’s usually the moment when I realize I’m on the edge of a king size bed, clinging on for dear life to the sheets so I don’t fall to the floor because you are consuming the entire space behind me.  That’s OK buddy, space is overrated if you’re not in it.

You are the best dog, even on your worse day.  You are pure loveliness, a shockingly awesome big-brother and a wonderful keeper of my heart.  You’re eight this week.  You were three when we became family.  I love you, forever.

Three:

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Four:

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Five:

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Six:

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Seven:

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Eight!

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28 thoughts on “Happy Birthday, Melvin!

  1. This is the best gift we can give our dogs: “I was asked if I wanted you to have ‘quantity of days or quality of life’. My response was that I wanted your life to measured only in joy.” Nicely said!

    Happy Birthday Melvin!

  2. Happy Birthday, handsome! As if you and Rufus couldn’t be any more alike, I had to see your 3-yr. old pictures! OHMIGOSH! I lovely a sad, sappy face so very much. You are so lucky to have such a wonderful mama, good boy.

  3. Happy Birthday Melvin. Oh I know how you felt at the beginning. Before I got Litchi, I had lost the dog I was closest to in my whole life. Litchi, like Melvin, was a handful but boy do I appreciate her now and, if it weren’t for her, I’d never have studied animal behaviourism. Thank you for rescuing and Melvin and giving him such a wonderful home.

  4. This has to be hands down my favorite post of yours…I always look forward to reading your blog…Sniffles and extremely big hugs are being sent your way…Melvin…Happy Happy Birthday Sweatheart!!!!

  5. Happy Birthday, Melvin! Not only do you bring tons of joy to your mom, but you also bring joy to my life every day when I get to read your silly stories and see your cute pictures!!

  6. What a heartwarming birthday message! “You are the dog that teaches me to move on, no matter what.” It’s amazing the things dogs teach us. Melvin sounds like a wonderful handful 🙂

  7. Pingback: Happy Birthday, angel! | oh melvin (and yo jake)

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