Beyond my family and my horse, there is another great love in my life. His name is Rufus. He is a six year old Rottie/Lab/who knows what else mix. We adopted him as a puppy from the Animal Rescue League. I fell in love with the beautiful brindle ball of fur and drool the moment he pushed through his brothers to lick my fingers. It was as if he was saying “S’cuze me boys, but my Mom and Dad just arrived.”
We signed all the paper work, paid the adoption fees and then they brought our beautiful boy out and put him in my arms. On our drive home he snuggled into my neck. It was the sweetest cuddle ever… and then he threw up on me. I was officially his Mom.
That afternoon, he wasn’t too far away from one or the other of us, nodding off with his head resting on the closest foot. When we were getting ready for bed that evening, my husband picked him up and brought him in with us because he was just too little to leave him alone in a strange new place. He fell off the end of the bed, so my husband put him in between us so he wouldn’t get hurt.
Now, six years later, my Rufus is a big boy, topping the scales at 126 pounds. Like most big dogs, he has hip problems and a few weeks ago he blew out his hip and knee jumping out of our truck. When I see him limping around I am reminded how short the lifespan is of a big dog and my heart breaks. I look in those eyes and still see that puppy we brought home. I cannot fathom that this wonderful dog who loves us with all his being will someday no longer be with us. From the start, he captured my heart. No matter how many wooden and plastic spoons he has eaten, how many holes have been chewed in my fuzzy blanket, how many times we have come home to “pillow blood” all over the bedroom or how many articles of clothing he has mangled, I cannot be mad at him. It is his way of coping with missing us, the people he lives for, and I love him to bits.
Our puppy is overjoyed to see us come home at night and saddened to see us leave for work in the morning. He wags his tail at the mention of his name or a glance in his direction… and he still sleeps in his rightful place in the middle of our bed. He is our comforter when we are sick, our faithful friend, our constant companion and he will forever own my heart.