What Will You Do With the Gift of a Day

Gift of a dayThis year is a leap year. It only happens once every four years. For all of us that are always too busy and never have enough time, I ask you – what will you do this this gift of an extra day this year?

Instead of making February 29th, just another day, let’s think of it as something special.

Here are a few ideas I have for MY extra day:

  • Make goals for the next four years. Write them down and then revisit and see how I did.
  • Try something I never thought I would do.
  • Make something healthy for dinner I have never cooked before.

How about you? How are you going to use your extra day?

Photo credit: Robo Android

Thank You Brody

Brody was a lifestyle

This is a guest post from my husband

“I have a dog!” I didn’t appreciate that I had rolled my eyes upon hearing this answer, as I immediately pictured the vast array of purses she must possess as carriage for her ‘mini-dog’, because she followed right up with: “no really, a real dog… he’s BIG, his name’s Brody”… and so the conversation with the beautiful blonde at the concert continued.

As Amanda and I continued dating, this fact was not lost on me and I can still vividly recall the first time I laid eyes on that magnificent mass of muscle. Not to sound cliché, but anyone who met Brody would agree he was seemingly chiseled out of a stone block without a piece of flab to be found or an inch of his frame misused.

As I stood there pondering the various ethical and moral implications of someone mating a Doberman with a Rottweiler, he wasted no time reminding me of whose house I was in, and whose girl I was there with and that she was not meant for sharing. I had decided to make quick work of our introduction and become best friends on the spot, but Brody had other plans and it became quite apparent his trust and respect was to be earned. Luckily there was footage of the encounter:

Brody and I eventually bonded over rough-housing and chasing each other around the house (not allowed), playing in parks off-lease (not allowed) eating food originally intended for humans (not allowed) and playing tug of war (also not allowed).

Brody and AdamWe excelled at getting caught and he would unknowingly toss me under the proverbial ‘bus’ as I often as I tattled on him. As many times as I shared tales of an XL size paw print on the counter, or an empty tissue box that I knew to be full the day before, he would just as swiftly snitch on me as he unwittingly exposed our secrets of food we would share against Amanda’s well-intended wishes. Whether already tucked in for the night or on the opposite end of the house he would bolt up and all 95 pounds would bound through the house en-route (often missing the turn while sliding sideways on hardwood floors) to the kitchen at the slightest hint of cheese slices being opened, a hardboiled egg being cracked or an ice cube tray coming out of the freezer, plowing over anything in his path. Our biggest bust may have been his over-exuberance when the whip cream can came out of the fridge… that would be our last day attempting that feat.

While I may have witnessed it for many years, even I cannot fully appreciate the bond those two had together, and what they each truly meant to each other. From the first day after adoption to their last days here at home Brody remained a source of joy, security, pride and a tremendous source of strength to Amanda, and for this he will never be forgotten. I cannot thank him enough for loyally standing watch over Amanda as she transitioned from a 20 year-old college kid (…with a puppy), to the intelligent and beautiful woman and loving wife we know and love today. Chili and I truly have some big paws to fill.

Brody keeps secretsBrody was everything to Amanda: most loyal companion, good listener, protector, dance partner (4-legged version), co-pilot, singing buddy (little known fun-fact: the word “Brody” is actually incorporated into the lyrics of every song written… ever), cuddle-buddy, trail-guide, shoulder to cry on, a soft pillow after a long day and a daily welcome-home party.

Often the longest part of Brody’s day was the time (what seemed like hours) it took Amanda to reach the top of the stairs after her car came to a rest in the garage signaling her arrival home. I was almost always third in line to get my welcome-home kiss, which was fine as I was usually crowded out of the dog’s waiting spot at the top of the stairs… their tails/nubs wagging wildly.

Having been a dog owner for close to 20 years, I naively thought I could appropriately anticipate life with Brody; after all he is just a dog. Wrong. Brody was anything but your typical dog and the easiest way I can explain living with Brody, was that ‘Brody’ was a lifestyle. His hulk and bulk were hard to ignore but it was the little things we loved about the guy. He would often grunt and growl and play games with himself that we still aren’t sure if he knew he was playing alone? He would spin wildly in place and plop his front paws down like the puppy he was, always with a smile and a wiggle of the nub. Brody’s character permeated everything he did, and it was this goofball character that made his transition to a tripawd so easy for both himself and his mother.

In the coming weeks we will be tasked with deciding Brody’s final resting place. One would assume we would choose his favorite spot, but he has so many to choose from as he truly loved everything and everywhere. Running in the waves along the sands of Ferry Beach (favorite), chasing turkeys and squirrels at my parents’ house (favorite), swimming for tennis balls while swimming upright like a seahorse at Little Sebago (favorite), or bounding over bridges and tree roots while giving chase to Chili through the Fore River Sanctuary (also favorite).

Brody on the boatIf we asked him, I think Brody may have settled on the same answer his mother would: Peaks Island. With as big of a smile a dog could muster, the pair would always enjoy a crossing on the bow of the ferry, with that massive head poking out through the gate, doing his best to consume all of the salt air and scenery he could. I already miss these trips. He truly loved each lap of that island (especially with Stan in Trees – the truck), each trip to Centennial beach and each stay with his loving grandparents who I know are sharing this aching with us.

Amanda is in pain right now; there is a hole in her heart I cannot fill right now and a hurt I can only hope will soften with time… as the only one who could make it all better is now gone.

Thank you Brody for a lifetime of memories.

Brody Burrito

Please Meet Me at the Door

Sleepy BrodyPlease meet me at the door.
Please, I’ll do anything.

This is my new mantra every time I drive towards my house. I repeat it. I beg. I cry. I park the car holding my breath and I walk in the door full of wishes and promises to do anything to have Brody meet me at the top of the stairs.

I have heard that knowing your dog is sick matters less about their food consumption, less about their energy level and more on that one moment when you come home – are they greeting you at the front door? It has been about two weeks and only once or twice (yesterday was one of them) have my prayers been answered and there has been a wiggly nub waiting for me as I walk through the doorway.

Brody is hurt and we can’t find the pain. We have had x-rays, we have had blood work, we have had an ultrasound, we have tested for lyme and he passes every medical test. It isn’t the cancer, it isn’t the solo hind leg, it isn’t an infection and it isn’t lyme. I am out of money – let’s face it… I am beyond the point of out of money. We have him on 3 pain killers and have him on the oral chemo. He eats, drinks and goes to the bathroom just fine but he hurts and I hurt too.

I haven’t slept in my bed with my wonderful husband in about two weeks. I sleep on the schedule of a new mother – I sleep when my baby sleeps and that is a sporadic schedule. We have more appointments that I cannot afford next week. Until then I keep him comfortable, we snuggle, I operate day to day on autopilot and I hope, pray, and make deals with higher powers for some sign of recovery.

I have invested most of my wishes on that wiggly nub at the top of the stairs, greeting me at the door when I come home – that will be my sign.