I took my eleven year old terrier Squash in for a routine teeth cleaning last week, when the vet heard a heart murmur and recommended an echocardiogram. The test revealed a heart condition I was relieved to learn is quite mild and isn’t likely to be causing any uncomfortable symptoms currently. Along with my relief came an overwhelm of love for my little furry soulmate. A number of friends have shared stories about their pets dying of cancer shortly after they themselves celebrated their first clear cancer scan. These friends believe their furry family members took the cancer for them. True or not, throughout chemo, I gave Squashy some pretty serious talks about how she was not allowed to take the cancer from my body and put it in hers. I unfortunately failed to mention she wasn’t allowed to put anything in her heart either.
Squashy is the closest person to me in the entire world. I say person on purpose and have nothing else to add about that. She has my back more than anyone I’ve ever known. She also judges me more than anyone I’ve ever known. You should see the look on her face the second I start typing an angry text. “What on earth are you letting yourself become! I didn’t make myself this cute for you to be mad about anyone or anything!” she yells with her eyes. “Look at how cute I am before you send that ridiculous text!” If I press send anyway, she leaves the room. If she could, I know she’d slam the door. Squash is the number one bodyguard for my bad behaviors, but she always forgives me for them, which is love at its best. “I believe you can be better than the dog you’re being right now,” she says, and everytime she says this I become a better dog. Yes, Squash calls me a dog. And she has nothing else to add about that.
On the eternal list of amazing things about pups, one is this—they can read emotions on human faces so well they can even recognize them in photographs. What?! Does that mean Squash could look at my prom photo and know I was thinking, “I’m a little too gay to be wearing this lacey dress while holding a dude’s hand.” I bet she could.
What especially bothers me about the possibility of Squashy having acquired her heart issue as a result of my health is that I know my health is better because she’s here. Science assures us over and over that being connected to a dog reduces blood pressure and decreases the risk of heart disease. Additionally, welcoming a dog into the family has been shown to decrease risks for asthma, allergies, and other immune conditions. For good measure, I’ve got three.
The thesis of my newsletter today, friends—dogs rock. And sometimes they rock a little too much, carrying more on their shoulders (and in their hearts) than is possible to hold. As a remedy I intend to gather up my prom photos tonight to give the little girl a good smile. My prom date was pretty handsome. I just hadn’t found the words to tell him I was looking for handsome pretty.
Love & Puppies, Andrea 🖤
P.S. Please enjoy this video of Squash refusing to let me stop kissing her.
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