I thought I'd officially introduce you to my boy. Everyone, meet Sundance. Sundance, meet everyone.
He's pretty cute, no? He's a good boy, too, though he hasn't always been. And no wonder, really. Sundance was sort of an 'up yours' move. See, my ex said "No more dogs!" but after I found out he'd been having an affair, I marched straight to the shelter and picked out a puppy. Up yours, cheater-man. It felt SO good. However, someone should have told me that you should never make an up yours move that can bite you in the ass... which mine did... literally. Actually, he was the cutest puppy on the planet. And the most destructive. And rambunctious. And he thought my daughter, who was 5 at the time, was a big chew toy. Together they were HELL. It was like having two 5-year-olds in the house at the same time, which I never wanted, which is why I only had ONE kid. I was honestly not certain he was going to make it to his first birthday and he was the first dog I ever had that I considered giving away. He chewed stuff... like walls. He ate stuff... like crayons (which made him poop rainbows... which was sort of cool, actually). I didn't like to call him a 'bad boy' so I called him a 'bubba'... all the time... which evolved into Bubby... which is what we still call him most of the time (though he's not a bad boy anymore).
But as difficult as he was, in many ways Sundance was my salvation. I got him at the worst possible time, as my life was falling apart, but he gave me something to focus on... something simple... something I wasn't worried about screwing up. My marriage was ending. I was terrified about how my child was going to be affected. I was stressed about managing life and finances and parenting on my own. I was scared and sick and angry and hurt. With everyone else, I had to put on a brave face. I had to pretend I wasn't falling apart. With my puppy, I could let it all out and still, he licked my face and cuddled with me on the couch and just loved me. He needed me but he gave so much more than he took.
He is still my salvation some days. Yes, he sheds (I get enough hair off him every day to knit a new dog). Yes, he muddies (and smells) up my car. Yes, he sleeps on my bed and he can somehow turn his 70 pounds into 250 (which takes up a LOT of room). But he also smiles when I get home (and I know you non-dog people think I'm nuts, but I'm not). He makes me laugh more than most comedians on TV. He makes me get off my butt and get out to the park every day. He loves me more than any human has a right to be loved. I am seriously flawed, but he doesn't see any of those flaws. To him, I'm just right. And to me, he's just perfect.