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Friday, September 23, 2011

Puppies and Unconditional, Inexplicable Love

A little over 13 years ago, a colleague told me about a puppy he'd seen in a shady pet store. He knew I had a Jack Russell puppy and, working long days as an attorney, that puppy needed a constant companion. When I went to the "store," I was appalled. This sweet, young puppy tried to stand in a cage that was too small. She couldn't stand, and had to eat, drink, and eliminate in this tiny area. I begged the "owner" to let me take her then, but she refused. She promised that if I came back tomorrow, I could take her home. So I returned the next day and paid a ransom to this "owner" and took my sweet Taylor home. It wasn't the Humane League, the Pound, or a typical rescue, but this "shop" was closing and this sweet girl needed saving.

She was a mess. After being confined to a cage that she couldn't even stand in, much less move around in, Taylor was afraid to be in an open space. She would hide under pillows, beds, behind toilets. Everything frightened her. Except me, my boyfriend (now hubby) and Paisley, my Jack Russell. She realized she was safe and began to trust us. She curled up with her "brother" and became my shadow. I haven't been to the bathroom alone in 13 years. And I love her as ferociously as she loves me.

My friends tease me that she has a water bowl beside my bed. And my mother-in-law desperately wishes to be reincarnated as Taylor. But the bottom line is that despite all her crazy, annoying, ridiculous faults, this cranky 13-year-old dog embodies loyalty, unconditional love, and acceptance.

What does this have to do with writing? Well, sometimes you have to go outside your comfort zone. Embrace the unusual and sometimes unlovable, and hope for all the pee spots you clean up and the bizarre and cranky behavior, that you find something that gives you deep and unending joy. Such is the journey of writing and trying to get published. There's a lot of poo and pee, but in the face of it all, you remember why you write in the first place. Because of the inexplicable and immeasurable love.

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