The Spoon Feeding Your Dog Kind of Love

This Valentine’s Day was a doozy, folks.

Let me tell you about our Valentine’s Day. No candlelight dinner, no fine dining, no extravagant gifts. And, it taught me more than Valentine’s past about the meaning of love. It wasn’t glamorous, but the entire day showed me what love looks like…how it moves and breathes in our lives in the middle of normality. It all reminded me of The Office episode when Jim and Pam get married. Throughout the day they take mental pictures of sweet moments to internally capture them since the day was moving so quickly. Here are my mental photos of this February 14.

It all started at the vet. Doesn’t the vet’s office ring romantic to you? Miss Paisley was going in to have her teeth cleaned. I was feeling a bit nervous the morning of, thinking about leaving her with people she doesn’t know and her being put under for the procedure. Doug called me after I left her there to make sure I was okay (essentially he was probably calling to make sure I could drive as he knows those situations can make me a wreck). He had an early morning of meetings and running around, but made that call a priority. It was probably just a few minutes, but it reassured and calmed me in a way that only hearing from him can.

MENTAL PHOTOGRAPH #1-Me leaving the vet, Doug calling.

My day was fairly normal-a couple of meetings, a shoot, nothing out of the ordinary. That afternoon I got a call from the vet to let me know that Pais would need a decent amount of extractions. In true surgeon manner she was very matter of fact about what they would be doing. After a bit of processing time, I burst into tears. Like, ugly-can’t-talk-through-them tears. I felt like a failure. Like I hadn’t done what I should have for her little mouth…I kept thinking that she is 100% reliant on us and we didn’t come through for her somehow. I pulled into a parking lot and called Doug to fill him in. His response: send me your location. He dropped everything. He knew it would mean working that evening so that he could come and sit with me for a few minutes…he knew it would mean going out of his way before a meeting…he did it anyway.

My knight in shining armor showed up and talked me through my meltdown. He assured me that I’m a great ‘dog mom’ and that sometimes dogs just have teeth issues. He reminded me that we are providing her a good life and that she is so loved every single day. Cue more sobbing. I sobbed because I felt as though I had not taken care of her. I sobbed because I felt as though I had failed. I sobbed that she would be losing her quirky underbite that I loved. I sobbed that the vet would think we were crappy ‘parents’ when in reality, we are so obsessed with this little pup. He waited. He patiently spoke perspective into all of my rantings both realistic and absurd. “You love her so much, she knows that…she feels happy and cozy every single day…we have so many nice photos of her underbite we can look at those anytime.”

MENTAL PHOTOGRAPH #2-Doug dropping everything to find me. Sitting in my car in a random parking lot, holding my hand and saying all the right things.

We got to pick up little one early that evening. Doug and I both went to hear what the post-op process was and what we should/should not be doing for her. She came out looking like she had been through a d a y. It broke my heart, but I was so very glad to see her. Doug took her with him so that I could stop at the store and grab her some soft foods. I watched him put her in the car while telling her, “I’m sorry because that was probably horrible but dad is going to cuddle you all night.” As he pulled away he was going about 20 MPH…guys.

MENTAL PHOTOGRAPH #3-Him carefully setting Paisley in the car while chatting with her. Driving away slowly to ensure she didn’t get nauseous or scared.

The rest of our night was uneventful and perfect. Paisley was pretty subdued and spent most of her night laying on Doug’s chest while he held her paw. Before we got her settled, Doug quietly brought over a Valentine’s Day card. He said, “I know this hasn’t been the nicest Valentine’s Day, but I at least wanted to get you a card.” It was full of the most thoughtful, introspective words that spoke to my saddened heart. It warmed my soul in the most needed way.

MENTAL PHOTOGRAPH #4-Pais finally resting…snuggled in by Doug on her favorite blanket. The end.

Do I know that there are people out there struggling with much more important issues? 100%. But, it still taught me meaningful lessons all the same. Again, more than other Valentine’s Days that we have spent together it reminded me how/why I fell in love with Doug’s heart. The heart that is full of the most joyful, giving love. The driving to me because I’m upset kind of love. The spoon feeding your dog kind of love. The driving 20 MPH kind of love. The holding her little paw kind of love. The telling Paisley “today was a bad day but tomorrow is a new one” kind of love.

Thankful for another love day with this guy and all the types of love he continues to embody. Happy Valentine’s Day! Hoping each of you feels extra loved today.