When I was a baby, my family had the custom of putting a little honey in my bottle, to sweeten it up and make me enjoy the taste more. Although now you can’t give a baby honey, back then the saying was, “everyone can use a little honey in their life.” I couldn’t agree more, that’s why I am sitting down to write this today. I want to put a little Honey in your lives. I work in a call center, and as you can imagine I meet all sorts of interesting people, but it’s thanks to my good friend Andrew who has encouraged me to share my story, that I'm doing this. So here goes…
I’m one of the few people who has never wanted a dog. Whenever I passed the pet shop and the puppies came up to me, I could actually walk past without a second glance, I wouldn’t even break my stride. So, how did a confirmed “Not A Dog Person”, end up with the sweetest dog ever? Simple, Honey found me.
It was one of those awful everything-goes-wrong kind of days, it started difficult and just went down hill from there: the alarm didn’t go off, I ran out of coffee, one of the kid’s homework wasn’t ready, the other kid couldn’t find her shoes, there was the usual traffic (only it seemed worse), the children were bickering (only more than usual), and to top things off, I got rear ended by a driver texting. All this before 8 am.
That day was going to go down as one of the worst I’d had in a long time, and I'd had some really bad ones. Eight painful, soul-crushing hours later working at a call center, and I had picked up the kids, we did the weekly grocery shopping, and continuing with the theme of the day, it started to rain on the way home. When we finally finished getting inside, soaking wet, dropping bags, purse and keys on the counter, I turned to close the door, which of course had been left open, and there she was: a mat of muddy, stinky, wet, shivering fur. Honey walked into my house the same way she walked into my life, without asking for permission but set on staying. Like she belonged.
At first I tried to get her out of the house. No one wants a strange wet dog, especially not on one of your worst days. But Honey would not budge. I was too scared to just pick her up and put her outside, even though she was small, she was a strange dog. I tried enticing her with food, used some toys and a ball to get her attention. But nothing would move that stubborn dog. I was too tried and frustrated to give the dog anymore of my time, so I left her there and went to set up my daughter’s bath. At that moment Honey moved. As soon as she heard the water running in the tub, she zoomed through the house and dived into the water.
The kids were ecstatic, they had begged for a dog for as long as they could say the word dog. And Honey, with those big golden eyes, now a much better sight having lost half her size in mud, yelped happily inside the bathtub. My horrible day, my tiredness, the urge to scream, all disappeared with that first yelp. I didn’t care about the mess, or the fact that I still had a million things to do, that crazy yelp burst something inside me that just made me happy. I had officially become a Dog Person.
Even though I felt she was mine, I still tried looking for her owners, but no one ever claimed her. She was in perfect health and very well trained. It didn’t take much convincing for me to accept Honey. Although I tried to put up a front. From the first night I insisted Honey sleep in the kitchen, and from that very same night she never left my side, always waking up curled into a tight little ball at the foot of the bed.
Honey became the best companion I ever had, she was with me through it all. And I do mean ALL. Through the fun times, holidays and vacations, and the test your strength times.
Honey travelled like a pro, passengers and tourists would take pictures of her because my daughter would always dress her up in funny outfits, glasses or hats. Honey didn’t mind, she would patiently wear anything, and yelp happily not caring as long as she was hugged and kissed. When the divorce happened she would take turns napping beside one of the kids beds, patiently keeping them company until they fell asleep, but she would always wake up at my feet. When I got sick, and the chemotherapy had me weak and crying and just angry at life, fate and how unfair it can be, Honey would lay down beside me just barely touching me, and ever so softly yelp to remind me she was there. If I woke up, or couldn’t eat on those really horrible days, Honey would come over with her favorite toy, an ugly duck she had chewed beyond recognition, and place it at my feet. Because of sanitary concerns Honey couldn't come with me to the doctor's office, but I had that ugly little duck in my purse, when I got the news of my remission. I still think it brought me luck that day.
When the kids went off to college there was not a moment Honey left my side, scratching the bathroom door to make sure I knew she was there, that I wasn’t alone.
Years passed and Honey mellowed out even more, she ran less, and on our walks she would need to sit longer by our bench, to catch her breath for the walk home. Some days I could tell she went on the walk more for me than for her. She always did things like that, it's like she knew when I needed her most.
That’s how I knew something was wrong that afternoon. Ever since that first night, Honey would always race up to me. Coming home I would have to brace myself or she could knock me over, she was always so excited to see me. But not that day. When I called her, she barked back but would not come to me. I found her in the kitchen, struggling to get up, but her hind legs would not support her. As I rushed towards my sweet Honey, she looked at me with those big golden eyes, gave me a big smile and a very soft yelp and closed her eyes.
I always made fun of people who treated their dogs like humans. I finally understand that what they really treat their dogs like, is family. She was the extra sweetness that made my life better. Even though it’s been a year now, my eyes still well up when I think about her, and that ugly little duck never leaves my purse. Every day, I miss my Honey so very much.