My first dog, or puppy as she came, is named Ani. Her registered name is “Ani’s Tending To Your Joy” and that is exactly why we got her. It had been a very joyless year or two, and I needed something to give me a reason to get up in the morning.
The two years prior had been filled with heartache. My father died, I had 3 miscarriages, and 3 failed IVF attempts and the final blow was finding out that I had Multiple Sclerosis — and incurable disease that I would be able to live with for many years, but not necessarily comfortably. I needed something to take the place of our failed attempt at a family. I needed something to take care of. I had always wanted a dog, but when we finally got in a good situation for pet ownership, my husband said, It’s either a dog, or ME!”
I guess at that point, I really didn’t care if he left, and especially didn’t care if he left me over a dog. I knew that he had a couple of collies when he was growing up — one that he touted as being the perfect dog. So, my strategy was to make it very difficult for him to not accept the pup, but also, I honestly needed this puppy so much that I didn’t care if he left me. I was in a place that I would call my bottom — the worst emotional state that I had ever been in, and I was quite sure it couldn’t get any worse.
My guess had been correct. When I told him my decision to find a collie and subsequently get one, he didn’t leave. In fact, that dog, Ani, became HIS dog! She was a daddy’s girl, and he walked her every day, twice a day. We went to classes, and he was able to handle her in obedience classes much better than I could. He passed the CGC test with her as well as her TDI therapy dog certification. I loved her dearly, but it was quite obvious that this was HIS dog. *sigh*
Ani is going on 12 years old this year. She is a beautiful sable and white rough that we got from a show breeder. She is gorgeous beyond belief, has a prima donna/diva type attitude and will be affectionate on her terms only, but has gotten much sweeter with age. Whenever we introduce new dogs to our pack, Ani is the litmus test. If they can’t/don’t get along with her, they are unlikely to get along with any dog. She can go anywhere, be around other dogs, people, children, elderly, and we don’t have to worry.
Months and seasons are all that are left for her now. She has given us a couple of scares, but nothing that she hasn’t bounced back from. I don’t know what I’ll do when she’s gone, but I do know one thing. She did indeed pull me up out of the meaningless existence I was living in and gave me something to care for and love. I will be forever grateful to her and confidently assured that the gamble I took paid off.