Sometimes you just have to write about something happy.
This is especially true, and necessary, when most of one's work focuses on hardship — as does mine. Which brings me to the topic of today's post.
This is a story about two dogs.
My Buddy, Bear
For those of you who have followed Benzo Free and Easing Anxiety for longer than a couple of years, you may remember a fuzzy fella named "Bear."
Bear was an Aussie Shepherd mix and was my best buddy for over 12 years, including the hardest days dealing with severe benzo withdrawal and BIND. Without him by my side, I don't know that I would have made it. But I did, and he helped me every step of the way.
Two years ago this month, we had to say goodbye to Bear. He was 15 years old and his body was failing him. This is the third dog Shana and I have had to say goodbye to since we've been married, and it definitely does not get any easier.
Little did I know at the time that this was only the beginning of another incredibly difficult period of my life. A period that rivaled my early years off Klonopin. Over the next 18 months, I cared for and lost my mother and father to dementia, and also lost two close cousins to COVID.
I truly wish I had my buddy next to me during these times. But alas, he had moved on. It's been two hard years, but we're doing better. And, it's finally time to move on.
So, we started looking.
About 11 days ago, my wife showed me a picture of a puppy at a foster home in Denver. We had been searching for a shelter dog for a couple of months, but the process was very lengthy and the dog we were interested in was usually gone by the time the paperwork was done. This time, though, things were different.
On Friday morning, my wife showed me a picture and description of a dog, and by Saturday afternoon we had a puppy.
Meet Murphy, a six month old Great Pyrenees / Border Collie mix. At least we think he is. We take him to the vet this afternoon and will run a DNA test just out of curiosity. He's about 50 pounds now, and will probably top out close to100 pounds full grown.
We've had a Pyrenees before, so we are used to the size. We love all dogs, but have always had a particular fondness for the ones with really big hearts.
My wife has been recovering from surgery and Murphy has been an amazing therapy dog for her. He's still a puppy and we still need a lot of training, but he's an amazing dog and perfect for us.
Now, with Murphy added to the clan, our home feels right again. We don't have kids — at least not the human kind. We have dogs — and they make us very happy.
Why am I telling you this?
To share the joy. To share the joy we feel as we welcome a new family member to the Foster clan. And, to include you, our friends, in that experience. This is pure joy. And sharing joy is perhaps one of the most powerful weapons against fear, pain, and hopelessness.
But, there's another lesson here also. I lost five loved ones in a little over a year, in the middle of COVID, and all while dealing with long COVID and benzo symptoms myself. And yet, life moves on.
Life gets better. There are sunrises and sunsets, friends and laughter, successes and achievements, s'mores and snickerdoodles, and yes, puppies, in all of our futures. This I know is true.
I will sneak in a story about Murphy now and then to keep you updated. I hope each and everyone of you has a joyful thought or event in your life right now that can bring a smile to your face as Murphy is doing for us.