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Challenge: We love our pets

Our loyal companion

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Her life began in a cardboard box.

“We’re not sure what kind of dog she is. Probably a mutt with some spaniel and lab in her,” the worker at the Humane Society told us. “She was just dropped off with two other pups.”

We were young, engaged to be married and had just bought our first house.

It only made sense to get a dog.

In a stark white building with barks echoing through florescent lit rows of kennels, she was quiet. Her beady, blue eyes met ours. Her head tilted to the side.

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My husband picked her up and set her in his lap. She nestled in and fell asleep.

In that moment, she chose us. We chose her. And we became a family.

For the next 11 years, Maggie would be our most loyal companion. She would love us through the highest of highs and the lowest of lows.

She was with us through every injection, every negative pregnancy test and every tear we shed over infertility and the loss of the hopes and dreams we had for our family.

I remember her nudging open the bathroom door with her nose after our final round of infertility treatments. I sat on the floor and wept. She rested her head on my lap as if to say, “It’s OK. I still love you.”

She heard every one of our prayers. Every one of our worries. Every one of our heartbreaks. And she held them safely, securely without any judgement.

She was with me when the phone rang about a baby girl born in Texas. She heard the social worker say, “Her mom chose you.” Her eyes watched me tearfully call my husband at work to tell him he was going to be a dad.

She watched us pace the house and pack suitcases before catching a last-minute flight to meet our daughter.

And she was the first to greet us when we arrived home with her a week later.

While she no longer received our undivided attention, she seemed happy to see us in our new roles as parents. Truly happy.

Eighteen-months later, she was there when we unexpectedly got a call about another baby girl. We kissed her goodbye before driving through a snowstorm to meet our second daughter, and her wagging tail was there to greet us when we arrived home with her the very next morning.

While she received even less of our attention, she seemed to enjoy watching us juggle two daughters under the age of two.

Fast forward a few months, and Maggie found a new pillow on my growing belly. She didn’t say a word, but I only had to look at her to know she felt content watching this season unfold for our family.

After all, she knew this is what we had prayed about for so many years.

With four kids under the age of four, she became our shadow during midnight feedings. Our silent cheerleader. She stood close-by the dinner table each night, eager and ready to help clean up.

She watched our babies crawl and say their first words and draw pictures of her. She shared her toys and kisses with all of them. She loved them. She loved us.

And now she's gone.

Her purpose was to make sure we knew we were loved. And boy, did she fulfill that purpose.

This post was originally published on ShelleySkuster.com.

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