Bambi.

The weather was warmer than it has been in months. The warm breeze flowed in the windows while she slept, curled up in her bed tight as a ball. She was in a deep sleep. I rested my palm on her head softly. I gave her a little pet to wake her gently from her rest. She moved ever so slowly, not like days past when she’d jump at the touch of my hand. She opened her eyes, groggy and worn out, taking a moment to sniff my hand and realize it was me, her mommy.

I nudged her back gently, expecting her to move a little more than she usually does. I pressed under her belly to get her up to stand. We were going to go out today. It was time to enjoy a few hours in the sunshine.

She doesn’t walk so well, so I picked her up. Me, being the only one who she allows to do so without care. I brought her to my chest for a loving hug, kissed her forehead and told her, “Let’s go get some sun.” She couldn’t hear me, but she knew where we were headed.

Out the door into the bright sunlight, her eyes squinted. She cannot see anymore. She cannot hear. But she can feel the sun, and smell the air.

I put her down in the grass. She never used to like to lay in it, but now as her body is fraught with discomfort from arthritis and old age, she welcomes the tickle of the greens and the softness it offers. She walked around a bit, hunched back, trying to find just the right spot.

And then, I walked away to give her time to explore this brightly lit, but so dark world of warmth and breeze. She laid down, exhausted from the small journey, looked up, and found her place in the sun.

The moment I saw her outside our window, I felt like it was the first day she came home. Gone was the look of pain and discomfort. Gone was the look of confusion as to where she was going. Her eyes closed, her mouth wide in a smile, her body comfortable in the grass, soaking up every ray of sunshine the world had to offer.

We’ll never know her journey before we met. Her age is unknown, her story before was limited. God brought us together on that day in July when I walked in and said, “I’d like to meet Ears.” Those ears, so huge and obvious. That attitude so strong, yet giving.

I told them I had no men in my house, and no plans for children; both a lie.

Chris didn’t know I was going to meet her that day, but he knew I was going to adopt a dog soon. I knew “Ears” was going to be my best friend. She was going to push me past my comfort level, further than I ever thought I could go. She “wasn’t good with men and children”, but she’s proven herself otherwise.

I walked out of the adoption center within the market that no longer exists. My mom suggested, “How about Bambi? She looks like a deer.” And that was it, Bambi was born into our lives eight years ago as a one, maybe two year, or older dog. We hadn’t a clue.

Since that day, she’s been everywhere with us, aside from long trips. She’s enjoyed time at many parks, once took a five mile walk with me the brave soul before I knew how long to walk a Chihuahua (1/10th of a mile).

She did all she could to please me, and we broke her fearful aggression one class at a time. She was tougher than a room full of pit-bulls and rottweilers, trainers feared her bite. We did it though, eight weeks later, a team, two partners on the journey finally with a common language.

Bambi has brought love, joy, happiness, cuddles, and growth into our lives. The other day, it warmed my heart to see her sitting in the sun, catching the rays like she did the very first summer she joined our family. I ran out with my camera, needing to capture what may be her final summer in the sun. She deserves this happiness, this warmth, this love.

I promised Bambi I would buy her a new big backyard before she left us.

And that, we’re going to do.

– kn –

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