It's her birthday. Maple turns one today and I'll be right back from crying (tears of joy) in the corner. She's everything I could want in a dog and more. As a kid, I was the tender hearted one ready to take in every stray (and there were a lot on our corner growing up - it still pains me to think about them all). In fact, my first memory I can recall was the neighbourhood stray having puppies in a repurposed cardboard refrigerator box on my grandma's back porch. Pretty sure the whole scenario was my doing at the ripe age of three, as I was recently reminded of this whole situation by my older sister, Annie. Unsurprisingly, the stray mama was malnourished, and even though three of her puppies survived, at least three didn't. I can still remember voluntarily crawling into the back of the box, heartbroken but determined, knowing these puppies needed to be retrieved and given a proper burial.
Animals are a sweet gift from God, displaying his creativity in every colour, shape, and species. And if you are as drawn to them as I am, don't hold back. I remember wrestling with what judgments I thought others would have, getting married and then getting a puppy. Ha, what a waste of energy! Don't get me wrong, one of my biggest desires is to have babies of my own, and Lord willing, that will happen hopefully someday soon. But having Maple has only made our lives better, even navigating her first heat during covid - diapers and all.
So here are five reasons, although I could probably give you at least one hundred, to get a puppy, and especially a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel puppy:
They enlarge your heart.
They open up a new community - I had a friend write in a note to me not too long ago - "dog people are the best people" :)
They help you get more exercise, without even realizing it! Rain or shine or snow, me and Maple get in our morning and evening walk.
They teach you how to love - Maple instantly loves anything and anyone that breaths. This may be breed and dog specific behaviour, but it's taught me a lot. And it's connected us more deeply to strangers, neighbours, and friends.
They lighten up life, helping you to look outside yourself, care for something else, and they provide comic relief on the regular.
So happy birthday Maple, you've been the sweetest gift. And keep scrolling if you'd like to see why the storage on my phone is always maxed out. But first, a quote that sums up these five reasons in a more meaningful way:
“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.”
― C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves
If you'd like to see more photos of my sweet pup, give her a follow on the gram! @hellomaplepup