My granddaughter Brooke and I went to the Humane Society on a special mission. My psychiatrist had suggested that I get a dog. He knew it would have a calming and reassuring effect on me. As Brooke and I kept looking, we started to get discouraged, until we looked into a pen that appeared to be empty. But then we noticed a little brown dog as far back in the corner as she could get. We looked at each other and immediately said in unison, “Oh yes.” It took another five minutes of coaxing her in baby talk to get her to move towards us so we could touch her.
On the way home, we renamed her Muffin. After all, she was rounded and brown like a lot of muffins. One of the first steps was to outfit her in all pink: collar, leash, harness, ID tag, blankey, and bed. The new name and all the pink had the psychological effect I had hoped for. It seemed to lessen the fear some people might have when approaching a “pit bull.” But, now I had to figure out a way to help Muffin with her fear of approaching people.
Muffin became the perfect solution to our empty nest. At first, she thought she needed to protect me from my husband and other men. But of course, my husband immediately fell in love with her and through patience and TLC, he slowly gained her trust. Muffin came to know that never again would she be hurt or scared.
The people in our community have also been very patient and kind with her, giving her plenty of time to get to know them. She loves to play with the other dogs in the fenced dog park and is a beautiful sight to us as she prances across the field. She and Maggie, the cat, entertain us as they play together, especially when they chase each other from one end of the small house to the other. Muffin goes everywhere in the car with us. We say, “Wanna go bye-bye in the car,” and she jumps up to get her leash on. My husband even made her a special “stand/sit/and lay” safety belt for the back seat. Just her very presence gives us joy.
Since I have had multiple kinds of cancer, it seems I need more reassurance and closeness. Having Muffin has turned out to be a 2-way deal. While I continue to heal with her help, she continues to heal with mine. We love to do things together and share other people’s animals. Before Muffin, I pretty much kept myself isolated except for family and medical appointments. Now she helps me meet people and enjoy them. This morning when I woke up, my entire recovery team was there cuddling on the queen size bed—the dog, the cat, the husband, and me. You may only get a little corner, but it is soooooooooooooo worth it!