Gatsby's not just my dog. He's not just my fur child. He's my saving grace.
I say that without shame -- I don't care if you think I'm a crazy dog lady because I remember how dark of a place I was in before him. The year before Gatsby I lost both of my remaining grandparents within three weeks of each other. To say my world fell off it's axis would be an understatement. Suddenly the world was entirely different. Most things didn't matter any more, and I was so overwhelmed with grief that I yo-yoed between wanting to lay in my bed all the time to throwing back as much alcohol as necessary to forget I was sad. I was the saddest I had ever been and didn't know how to cope with my own emotions while also being there for my parents and siblings.
Then I woke up one day and decided it was time to get the golden retriever I'd been dreaming of since we lost our family golden, Butler, after nearly 15 years. It seemed like it was on whim to everyone on the outside, and it kind of was, but I knew a dog was what I needed. Fast forward just a few days: Gatsby had changed everything. He kept me busy. He distracted me with his puppy antics. He gave me something really joyous to talk about. He made me happy because I had someone to talk to all the time and lavish affection on.
Gatsby is my best friend. He is the first thing I think about in the morning (largely because he wakes up at 4:30 on the dot) and the last thing I think about before falling asleep (because he always ditches me to sleep on the floor). When I look back at how sad and lonely I was before him, I feel so sorry for the girl I was six months ago. It sounds horribly cliché, but I truly cannot imagine living without him.
On bad days, I just want to get home to my dog. He's gotten me through some tough shit. I know loving on him will make me feel better. He's helped my family heal too. Losing my grandparents was devastating and left everyone reeling. I brought Gatsby home with me and watched as he helped us all survive the grief, especially my dog-loving dad. My mom has benefitted from him too. She was never the kind of person who laid all over dogs or was down with letting them inside, but she doesn't bat an eye at letting him in her house now and kisses him goodbye every time we leave. I have quite literally watched as he helped us all get through the most difficult time of our collective life.
Even though he's chewed up rugs, coasters, and sunglasses, woken me up all hours of the night, thrown up on my bed when he was sick, and stolen apples out of my purse, I think he's perfectly perfect. He's everything I could want and exactly what I need. I have cried salty tears into his fur, taken him on runs when I'm beyond frustrated, and vented to him about all of the difficult things I've dealt with the last half year. And he's always made me feel better.
So, sue me. I'm a crazy dog mom. I love my dog more than I love most humans, and you can bet your bottom dollar I will make you look at every single photo I have ever taken of him. Can you blame me though? Just look at him.