I Am Most Thankful This Thanksgiving

I have no qualms about admitting that I am extra thankful for my dog. Baby, my rescue poodle, she is a gift that keeps on giving.

She was left at the Orange County Animal Shelter in Orlando. Baby was one of three small dogs up for adoption. At eleven years old, she was older than I what wanted. So I was more reluctant than she to be adopted by her, but she won my heart by being sweet and needy when we first saw each other. She jumped up and all but begged me to love her. How could I not adopt her when I saw the poodle-shaped cloud in the sky above the adoption center? A sure sign that she was the dog for me.

I will always be grateful for Baby’s companionship during the long, lonely days of COVID. She taught me to be patient and calm while I taught her to exit and enter the house through the doggie door. She makes me laugh. She quickly learned that the way to get a treat was to go through the door. However, it took me a long time to realize that when she wanted a treat, she would go out the door and refuse to come in until I gave her a treat. She is a smart dog.

She is a good listener, too. Baby gives me rapt attention when I read her the stories I have written for the Ink & Quill group. However, she can be a tough audience sometimes as she yawns and shuts her eyes when I get too verbose.

Baby loves to share too – my food – but not hers. She is my little vacuum cleaner – snuffling along the rug under my feet, gathering crumbs dropped from my dinner. Her rule is anything that lands on the floor is fair game for her.

Baby enjoys going for rides in the car. But boy, does she give her opinion about me leaving her at home. It’s usually a loud, barking tongue-lashing as I re-enter the garage. But as soon as I am in the house, she is happy that I am home. Funny, Baby rarely barks at anyone but me. Not exactly a good watchdog. She follows me from room to room and is known to be under my feet when I am in the kitchen, but she has never tripped me.

In the last few months, she has invented a new game. It’s called the throw-the-pillows-on-the-floor-and-watch-Mom-pick-them-up game. Why she insists on tossing the pillows on the floor, I have no idea. As exasperated as I can sometimes get because of her antics, I am ever so grateful for her coming into my life. I am extra thankful this Thanksgiving for my companion, my dog, Baby.