mental wellness

The Best Girl In the World

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Roxy at about 4 months old.

Once upon a time there was a 22-year-old girl in dire need of help. She was struggling with a brand new Bipolar Disorder diagnosis. She had just put her grandfather to rest, and put her job, relationship and her entire life on hold to figure out some semblance of stability. This girl was wondering why she even existed. She was focused on her problems and didn’t know how in the world she could possibly overcome what she was feeling. That girl was me.

My life fell apart during the summer of 2006. If you’ve read my blog about my mother you might remember that she came to my rescue. Someone else came to my rescue as well. I turned 23 during that summer and my aunt Norma, who has given me gifts and experiences greater than I have ever deserved, gave me what I consider to be the greatest gift I have ever received.

You see, my first dog, Max, had crossed the Rainbow Bridge when I was 19 (that’s a story for another time). I was starting to get puppy fever. I was looking for a small dog like a Shih Tzu or a Yorkie. While in California that summer my aunt and I actually walked into Pet Store (do those even exist anymore???) in La Mirada, California. There was an adorable yorkie waiting for its new owner who was late to come pick it up. The worker told us that if it wasn’t picked up in the next however many minutes that we could have it. Not two minutes later that yorkie’s new owners showed up.

I continued to look around and laid eyes on the most adorable, floppy-eared puppy I had ever seen. I remember saying, “can I see her?” The worker got her out and put her in the puppy pen so that we could meet. This dog looked at me once with her big brown puppy eyes and that was it. I knew she was special and when I said she was “the one” the store worker told me that they would give her a bath and get her ready to go home and I could come back and get her in about an hour, but I refused to leave without her. I waited for her and I named her Roxy Heart (yes, after Roxie Hart).

That summer was one of the most difficult times in my entire life, but when I brought my little girl home I felt the spark of life. Roxy gave me something to focus on that wasn’t my problems. I had a reason to get up, to live. I had this little creature who needed me.

I could go on and tell 13 years worth of stories, good and bad, about what we’ve been through including medical issues, Daddy’s passing, and romantic heartaches, but that would make this blog post even longer than it already is.

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my senior girl at 12 years old

We’ve been through a lot, it’s true, but she has never not been there for me. She knows me better than most people. She is my little furry soul mate and my best friend. She fulfilled more than my puppy fever that summer and as she continues to age I have realized the beauty in having a senior dog. She has mellowed and she clings to me in a way she never has. She looks at me with an unconditional love and loyalty that most humans cannot achieve.

I like to tell her that she saved my life. Literally. I tell her that she is my favorite girl in the world as she nuzzles my hand to get more head scratches. She is coming up on 13 years old on June 5 and while my heart is so thankful for her my heart also aches that more of our time together has passed than we have left. She is a healthy girl, but I can see that her bones ache a little more, she walks a littler slower, and she sleeps a little more than she used to. She is my old girl. I don’t know how much time we have left together, but I know that she loves me just as much as I love her. She is sweet, and snuggly and loves having her chin scratched.

There will be other dogs and I will love them with my entire heart, but I can never love them quite the same as my Roxy Girl. She is my little furry savior and I will grateful for the gift of her companionship forever.

She is the best girl in the world.

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