It is true that good things come in small packages. My life is filled with animal companions and they bring me untold joy everyday, grace manifested, unconditional love to soothe and heal my spirit when the hard bi polar times come and my anxiety and agoraphobia are so extreme I cannot even go out to get the mail. I have always considered them great healers, but I have just been blessed with the most extraordinary little presence I have ever met. Her name is Delilah.
In April I lost my beloved pug Penny on the operating table. She had suffered terrible abuse and neglect before she came to me and she was blind with a host of other problems but she was so gentle and she spent her days in my lap while I worked on the computer. She was 12 years old when she went in for emergency surgery to have an eye removed. When I took her in that morning I was told that I could pick her up in the afternoon, that removal of the eye was not a difficult procedure and she would do fine once it was out. I held her close, hugged and kissed her, and reluctantly handed her over to the doctor’s assistant. It would be the last time I ever saw her.
I was so devastated when Penny died that I went into a profound depression, and didn’t know how I would move past it. I grieved terribly and so did my other pugs, my sweet boys, Sampson, Tanner, and Pugsley. People seldom realize what an impact it has on the other members of the pack when they lose one of their own but they were deeply impacted and we all held on to one another and moved through the loss together.
Time passed and I began to open my heart to the idea of adopting another little girl. No one could ever replace Penny but as a long time animal advocate and involved in pug rescue for some time I felt that it would honor Penny and my love for her to take in another little girl that needed a loving home. I put in my application and I waited. It seemed that the time would never come when I got the message that a new little girl was coming in to rescue. She had been rescued from a puppy mill where she was used to produce several litters and kept in a small cage. She was only 5 years old, frightened, and suffered severe separation anxiety. They knew that I had long experience with rescue pugs, having adopted 10 over several years, and that I worked from home. Delilah needed someone who could be with her. I was delighted.
On the 1st of September a lovely couple drove her to me. They had fallen in love with her and said they would love to have adopted her if she had been available. The coordinator as well as the family who drove her here all remarked on how incredibly soft she was, and tiny. Just like Penny. Another tiny little girl to hold in my arms. Penny was 14 pounds and so is Delilah, but Delilah is young and healthy, save needing to recover from her hard early life.
I fell in love with her on sight and she, me. As soon as the dear family that brought her left I made my latte — it was early morning — and scooped her up and sat at the computer with her in my lap. The picture at the top of this entry is the first picture I ever took of Delilah. As soon as I snapped the picture she leaned forward and took a sip of my latte. A girl after my own heart!
I have never encountered a little one with such serious separation anxiety. If I walk down the hall to use the bathroom she cries in the most pitiful way. If I get up at night she flies out of bed out of a sound sleep and is right on my heels. The very few times I have had to leave for short periods she was simply beside herself when I got home and is now on a mild tranquilizer to help her and she, like Penny, lives in my lap while I work, sleeps on my chest while I read and write, and she is the most precious little thing, I simply can’t tell you, but there is more…
Not long after Delilah arrived I realized something was different about her. Pugs are by nature very loving and affectionate and all of my pugs have been so very dear and sensitive to my moods but Delilah was much more so. When I feel the slightest bit of anxiety she crawls up on my chest just under my chin and lies there until I feel calmer. At night when I am having a bad night she crawls up on my pillow and sleeps with her little head in the crook of my neck. And there have been 3 different interesting incidents when people have come to the cottage. One woman who was afraid of dogs, even my other three sweet, gentle pugs, was so drawn to Delilah she held her in her arms cuddled close to her for 45 minutes. On two different occasions when someone was visiting who was very stressed or sad or having a hard time Delilah has jumped off of my lap, which she seldom ever does, gone and jumped up on my guest, and crawled up on their chest like she does with me, and laid there very close for some period of time. People love to stroke her incredibly soft fur and you can see their body relax, their breathing become easier, and a transformation take place. Delilah is a natural service dog, and she will be one for me.
With a combination of bi polar disorder, PTSD, severe anxiety, and agoraphobia I have hard days, and I can work my way through them, my animals are always a huge help, but leaving the house is very hard and I do it very seldom, sometimes not going to the grocery store for 3 weeks until the cupboard is really bare (Not for the animals, never for them, I always have their food, treats, and needs delivered). Delilah will be trained and certified as a service dog, and she will be able to go with me when I need to go out. Once again I thought I was adopting a little girl in need. In truth, she came to save me. Or, rather, I suppose, we are saving each other.
And so as I sit here writing now she is here on me, looking up at me, and I put my hand on her. Skin to fur, the best medicine in the world. Miracles come in small packages, and she is mine.