As my car turns into the driveway after a long day, I anticipate the adorable scene taking place inside my home. This experience is probably happening in hundreds of homes across the country and world. It happens on rainy days, snowy days and ordinary days. It happens when one is in a good mood, sad mood or really bad mood. When it happened to me, I had never anticipated the simple, raw joy it would bring to my life.
Her vigorously wagging tail and little trembling body greet me from the other side of the puppy gate as I enter through the back hall. I witness this precious site of adorable dog greeting her owner with nothing but unconditional love and immediately my day is immensely better than it was a short time ago.
For many years, people tried to tell me that our family needed a dog. I falsely thought that the combination of three kids, two jobs, countless activities (including a very busy Irish dance schedule) AND a dog would be too much for us. But when our second daughter Emma prepared to leave for college, we finally decided the time was right to get a dog so that our youngest child Andrew could have a friend in the house. We had NO idea what this acquisition would mean for all of us.
In short, we have added more LOVE into our lives. Hannah Reagan Schiller is pure love – all 12 pounds of her. Of course she is work – which is mostly left to mom – but she is so worth it. My mom Joan was right when she suggested many years ago “the kids NEED a dog.” I never really understood why she felt that way but now I do. I have seen so many incredible encounters between Hannah and my 23-year-old, my 19-year-old and my 14-year-old. And my tough, hard-working husband may love her most of all. When he is working late into the night, Hannah is always close by his side. Simple, loving, childlike encounters which bring all of us back to the real meaning of life – LOVE one another.
In the beginning I would not let Hannah into our bedroom. We all laugh at that because now she climbs up on my bed and lays next to me when I am resting my back on my heating pad. I had to take a medical leave from work this summer due to my back not healing from two spinal surgeries. The constant pain I endure each day can be daunting… At a time when I needed someone to life me up a bit – Hannah has been that someone. Who would have thought that a little furry creature could mean so much to so many?
For years, I have watched my sister and her family LOVE their Black Lab, Paddington, (aka Doggle) and my brother and his family LOVE their Welsh Corgi, Moxi. I used to think they were a bit nuts about their dogs but now I guess I’ve joined their elite doggy fan club. For those who don’t have a dog – I challenge you to consider it, if you want more LOVE in your life. Hannah has certainly been a gift of love and joy to a family who didn’t even know we needed her!