Wednesday, April 24, 2013


Last night,

I was waiting.





April 24th,


I whispered to you.

Happy Birthday my love.

My life.

Today you are 3.

And everyday,

You are everything to me.

Why do I put everything into a 49 pound, black and white, 4 legged, low to the ground, sharp whisker girl? Because I was lost and alone like never before and she saved me, and continues to save me of my life.

If I look back over the course of these last years, there has been a whole lot of rough. When the accident happened, I knew I could handle it, at least that's what I kept telling myself. From day 1, I had it in my head that I was going to fight for everyone, and with every fiber of my being - for my Mom and Gary, for my marriage and especially for Aviana.

I don't know if you know this about me, but in my family I have been known to be the glue that holds everyone together. Well, when everything went sideways, someone needed to hold me together, so when Dave was at work, Kama was by my side - doing just that. She was my rock while he was away. When things were beyond comprehension and nothing made one bit of sense, I had Kama as a welcomed escape. When no one was around to provide any answers about the mysterious brain, as there are none...Kama was there doing something goofy to break the seriousness of our situation. She was there for me to cuddle up to, to laugh at, to cry on. She was there for every ounce of everything, and I always felt I couldn't survive this...without her.

So when she got sick and died. I died too. Grief on top of grief is no place to be. I always felt strong enough to barely handle one. I thought losing another would surely break me in two. I didn't want to be here without her. The house was too silent. I was much too alone with my thoughts. I had to face this very difficult reality without any distraction. I didn't know how I was going to care for Aviana through the good and bad without Kama. And worse, I didn't think I was capable of loving another dog the way I loved her...ever!

You might remember we left for Pennsylvania right after though. I was dead set against another dog, but when we returned, I almost immediately realized - I couldn't be without. We called about a sibling set we had been looking at as a 2nd dog for Kama, and due to a case of kennel cough, one was being released that day for adoption at the SPCA, 3 hours away. We were on our way.

A little unnamed sweetheart came tottling out, licked Aviana's feet and calmly sat down next to us. We could immediately tell she had a gentle, loving spirit. Within minutes, I told the woman we would take her. I had to tell her 3 times before she believed me.

Rainey fills every imaginable space within me. While my heart breaks repeatedly for Kama, I love Rainey just as much as I love Kama. Had you told me prior this would happen, I would have said, "with all due respect - you lie."

Rainey is pure joy, love, happiness, and life. I say this with a strangely heavy heart - she is able to fill us with everything I suppose we are missing in a well child. She is able to provide all of the silliness, goofiness, and laughs we so desperately need. Again with a heaviness - I must say, the love we share is also devoid of any conflicted feelings. I feel somewhat guilty at times, because as much as we play musical everything with Aviana - by moving her all around the house with us, Rainey - by default - gets more attention as she follows us all over and is able to run, jump, and interact as most of us can. As always, it's all part of accepting the way it is, the realities of this life. That we can, and Aviana can't. We know we try to make the most and best for Aviana every step of her life. As hard as it sometimes feels, we have to find peace in that...

I'm thankful to Rainey for creating a balance and harmony within our home, which makes caring for a severely brain injured child a lot easier and more enjoyable. She brings an ease and life to everything. She lightens the mood. We don't have any other children, but I suppose I would venture to guess that's what well children do in other households with severely disabled children? Lighten the mood? Break the seriousness of the tough parts? Make the happy parts, even happier?

I am beyond grateful that we took a chance on another dog and so soon after. I can't imagine living one day without Rainey. I tell her all the time. Today, and everyday...we celebrate her!

I have the best friends and neighbors ever. They have been calling and delivering cards and presents for Rainey today. I butchered some homemade dog treats (in a bad way), and my friend Jen delivered some perfectly baked beautiful ones for her ; )

We are so lucky.

I was given one of the greatest gifts at a time when I needed her most in my life. I know there are no coincidences. 

The FedEx man came today and dropped a box by. I had no idea what it was. I looked at the return label, still nothing jarred my memory. I opened the box and it was then the tears spilled over. I had completely forgotten. My two cross similar, unexplainable paths all the time. I could.not.believe my eyes, and could not believe that on this day, Rainey's birthday - this had arrived...


  1. I am so glad that you & Rainey found each other and have each other. The relationship you have is so special.

    I love Kama's picture. Like you said, there are no coincidences in life. I think Kama is wishing Rainey happy birthday and thanking her for taking such good care of ya'll.

    Happy Birthday Rainey!

  2. Happy Birthday Rainey!!!!!! Mines coming up in a couple of months, I'll be 3 too!!!!
    Lets play.

    Love from your cousin,


    P.S. - My Daddy (Steve) says Happy Birthday too.

  3. Jen - Beautiful post. The love of and love from our dogs is such a special, amazing thing. My sweet beagle-boy (who turns 13 on June 12) was a rock for me through some tough stuff. I love the birthday wish from Kama - I'm sure that must have been it! I have my beautiful pups faces on large canvases hanging on a wall with a "Life is GOOD" wrought iron piece.

    Happy birthday, Rainey! ARRRRrrrrooooo!

    1. Thank you Stephanie! I completely agree, there is nothing like the whole world!

      I love how you love your beagle boy like I love my baby too. I love other dog lovers!! Tears dropped with every comment about Kama's birthday wish...

      Your canvas sounds absolutely beautiful.

      Thank you so much for your birthday wish for Ray Girl : )

  4. Happy Birthday you dear sweet Rainey girl!!!

  5. I am ever so grateful that you have your beautiful, wonderful Rainey. She is so perfect that she even turned me, a non-dog person in a Rainey lover.

    Obviously I have no idea and cannot begin to imagine what you go through but I can tell you that my kids do make the previously thought unbearable circumstances not only bearable but at times happy. It will never be the same kind of happy and I have yet to experience joy, I don't think that will ever happen, not the same kind anyway, but my kids give me what I need. I can only imagine that is what Rainey girl gives you.

    I love you and a big 'ol happy birthday to Oscar de la Rainey!!!!

    1. She has a way with the non-dog loving folk. Even my mom and she is a tough sale! I hear you loud and clear.

      You know, I keep forgetting to tell you, she prefers to drink out of the bowl you got her. She has two others in there two, one on each side and yours is always empty!!! She must know, or feel all high class and stuff!!

  6. Jen, I don't see how Rainey could be anymore loving than what she is,after all look who her mama is.You've taught her well. You deserve each other !
    HAPPY BIG OLE B-DAY RAINEY, enjoy your special treats.
    Cindy from NC

    1. Awwwww!!!!! You are so SWEET!! Thank you...from Rainey and Me TOO!!!

  7. We always say our little Sabaka is our fifth child. She is the baby of the family, spoiled just as much as if she were human. We all love her so much. She really does not know that she is a dog. She won't even look at another dog much less play with one. My husband always says that he and Sabaka are one in mind and spirit. Sabaka and I know the truth though, she really belongs to me. She really is the best girlfriend. She loves unconditionally. We can learn so much about loyalty from dogs. How much better would our world be if we were more loyal to those around us. Sometimes when I just need a good talk with my Heavenly Father and I'm down on my knees with my head bowed she will try to burrow her face into mine. This may sound strange, but it's like she knows I am talking to deity and she wants to be a part of it. I never thought I could love an animal as much as I love her. She is a member of our family and is treated as such. I love how much you love your Rainey. She is beautiful!

    1. Treated as they should be...just like family : ) You made me LAUGH!!!! when you said, "my husband always says that he and Sabaka are one in mind and spirit. Sabaka and I know the truth though, she really belongs to me." Don't they though!! Of course they do!!! I love her name! So beautiful!

      They provide and are given the most perfect kind of love ever...