I wanted, more than anything, to be happy. A new puppy born. A puppy who was going to be mine in just a couple of months. Puppies are happy news, something to be overjoyed about.
The last thing I felt was joy - even though I knew I was supposed to. All I wanted at that moment was what I had wanted for the last month and a half - my Speedy back. On that day I would have gladly traded a lifetime with my future puppy for just a couple more years with my boy. There was a lot more bitter than sweet for me on February 27, 2014.
The universe could not be more different one year later. I look back now on that day, and the 9 weeks that followed, with enough joy and nostalgia to make up for what I didn't feel back then! Knowing and loving my puppy colors that time with emotions that I could barely fake at that time, much less feel.
I knew that then - I knew that when the day came when my puppy was in my life and I knew his name and who he would be that I would love him. And I was certain that the time would come when I wouldn't trade him for anything else in the world.
And I say this now - being there is so much better than being back at that time, knowing that I would get there, but hardly having a shred of hope for it.
Bandit is my puppy, my little Bandito, my boy, one of my Border Collie boys!
I can hardly imagine life without him, and the days of Sammie, Speedy, and Maddie seem like a lifetime ago.
But today isn't about them - today is Bandit's day!
Watching him grow from just born (in pictures) to the day we met him, and then in person, was like a daily miracle. So much of my year was spent looking at him to see, "did he grow again?!!?"
Tiny baby Bandit . . .
Photo credit: E. Phares
7 weeks old . . .
Photo credit: E. Phares
It has been quite a ride. I remember almost every detail of his puppyhood. And I can't believe how much he has grown and changed. It really seems like just yesterday when I used to pick him up, tuck him under my arm, and carry him everywhere! No more of that now - he navigates the world on his own four paws!
I can easily call to mind how he used to bite the yellow heads off of the dandelions in the spring and eat them, how he used to hunker down in the grass and watch Dean retrieve on the lawn, the long summer afternoons when he would nap in his crate as I watched TV, playing "pass the puppy" with him at training class, starting his training classes when he was still such a little guy, his first trip to the beach and him learning to swim in the bay, his first hike at King's Gap, and day after day of play with his hollee roller balls!
More recently we have started training together and I am amazed at what an awesome training partner he is shaping up to be - eager to learn, wanting to connect and jump into whatever we are doing together!
He has carved out a place in my heart that is just as big as Speedy's place. And it is all his own place - Bandit is fully himself, an individual through and through.
Happy first birthday el Bandito! I thank God every single day for this boy who constantly radiates joy and curiosity and an enthusiasm for living, and who has changed every one of us for the better!