Wow. We’re already in April. I’m still trying to catch up on everything. I’m getting close, and it’s a great feeling. I’m hoping I can take a few weeks off sometime in June/July and have a proper vacation. I’m in desperate need of a girls’ weekend. I’m hoping that I’m able to get that.
I’m touched beyond words about the many replies to my post from last month. Some of you posted on the blog, but many, many more emailed me privately, retelling their stories, sharing their thoughts and advice. I appreciate every moment. Reading all of your kind, sweet, and uplifting words warmed my heart. It’s easy for difficult situations to drag us down. That’s why it is so important to find a way to pull yourself back up. To find the light, the happiness in something. Like everyone, I get down sometimes but for the most part, I have an optimistic personality. Not that I think that everything is great and wonderful. Maybe it’s because I see the darkness in others and the world that it’s so much more important for me to make sure to be happy—for myself. I don’t see weeds, I see wildflowers. I don’t see thorns, I see roses. I make sure to find joy in something every day. Most of the time it’s Sisko. I’ve had a range of animals all my life, with most being cats. Sisko is my first big dog since I was a small child, and I adore him to pieces.
And I spoil him to an almost ridiculous amount.
There’s something pure and humbling about having an animal love you unconditionally. They don’t care if we have makeup on, if our hair is a mess, if we’re tall, short, fat, skinny, or haven’t put on a bra in a few days. They don’t care about race, religion, sexual orientation, or any of the other issues humans create. They only see the person they love—their human.
Sisko isn’t just my companion. He’s there for my good days and bad days, sticking near me when I cry, booping me with his nose when he wants to show me something, wagging his entire body when he’s happy, and watching me with his soulful brown eyes as if he sees my soul. The pure joy that radiates from him when I come home easily washes away any bad mood I might have. I laugh at the way his ears flop when we’re on our walks. I love the way he whines when he sees another cat or dog because he wants to meet the animal. I adore how he moves in front of me for protection when he senses a threat.
I’m his human, and he’s my dog. Though, he’s so much more than that. He’s a confidante, a therapist, a binge buddy for TV, food taster, protector, and foot warmer. He’s my sanity, my teacher, and my happiness.
I found Sisko—or perhaps he found me—in March 2015 when I had just learned of my ex’s affair and the divorce. Sisko and his sister had been dumped near my house. They were skin and bones and terrified of everything from being abused. I was feeding a number of neighborhood dogs at the time because everyone dumped dogs where we lived. It was heartbreaking. His sister ran off, but Sisko wouldn’t leave. My son begged me to keep him, and I’m a sucker for strays, so of course I said yes. Connor’s favorite show at the time was Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, and his favorite character was Captain Benjamin Sisko—hence Connor naming the dog Sisko.
I took him to the vet for a check up and get all that goodness. The vet said he was about 6 months old and wouldn’t get to be any bigger than 40 pounds. We had four cats and my Chihuahua, as well as another outside dog, Sammy, that was a stray that kinda stuck around. Sisko fit in well. He loved being inside, and preferred it. However, he wouldn’t sleep in Connor’s room. Sisko wanted with me, the cats, and my Chihuahua.
When I bought a house and we moved, Sisko didn’t so much as bat an eye. When I lost my oldest cat and my Chihuahua within two months of each other, Sisko seemed to know the dynamic in the house changed. He grew up fast. So, so fast. And quickly surpassed the 40 pound mark to top out at 80 pounds. A big dog with an even bigger bark who is terrified of everyone—unless they threaten me. He was Valentine’s protector when my daughter and son found the kitten in the middle of the road battered and bruised from having been thrown from a car. Val would always curl up with Sisko and loved to climb on him. Sisko enjoyed every second of it.
Now that my daughter has a place of her own and took her two cats, my son took his cat when he went away to college, and I had to put down my beloved Sheba, it’s just been me and Sisko. I’m starting to get that itch for a kitten, but I’m waiting because I have a feeling a stray is going to come into my life when I least expect it. Until then, Sisko and I have each other.
He makes me laugh in so many ways every day. My favorite is when we play hide-and-seek. And yes, he really plays. It’s the cutest damn thing you can imagine. He’s shy and scared of loud sounds, but he’s adjusting to life in the apartment. He loves getting to see all the different dogs. While he’s still not wild about car rides, at least he doesn’t pancake on the ground and have to be lifted into the vehicle anymore. He gets in on his own, but don’t put the windows down. He doesn’t like it. I’ve started taking him out each time I leave to the point that if I have to leave him behind, he pouts.
He has been my biggest saviour through some of my hardest times. He is, in fact, a part of my self-care. I lean on him, and he in turn leans on me when it’s storming or fireworks are going off. He knows I’ll be there for him, just as I know he’ll be there for me.
Self-care means a lot of things to a lot of people. For me, having Sisko (animals, in general) with me helps reduce stress and anxiety just by petting them.
What makes you smile? What happiness do you find in each day?
“There is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in.”