“When you are happy, you can forgive a great deal.” — Princess Diana
My name is Princess.
On January 15, 2017, I will celebrate by tenth birthday.
Mom just read me a book called The Velveteen Rabbit. Water came out of her eyes when she read:
“’Real isn’t how you are made,’ said the Skin Horse. ‘It’s a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.'”
Then, she kissed the top of my head and told me that I’m real.
Once upon a time (that’s how stories about princesses start), I was born in North Carolina. Somehow, from a puppy mill, I ended up in Utah, about 2-1/2 hours south of my mom.
Before I was year old, in my first season, I was bred. From then on, I gave birth once or twice each year.
I don’t know how many puppies I delivered, but the research my Kaibab family did with BernerGarde, the American Kennel Club, and the Bernese Mountain Dog Club of America shows that I had close to 100 puppies. (I’m inserting two links to my story: A Story of Greed: Princess, and, J for Juxtapositon.)
In November, a mass that grew on my neck became unmanageable for the people who “owned” me. (My mom says that people can’t “own” dogs. We’re just lucky to have each other. She says, “people accept stewardship over animals and promise to keep them safe.”) The previous people didn’t understand that. For them, I was a money-maker.
Mom woke up the Saturday after Thanksgiving, made coffee, and looked at Facebook. There, she saw this post from our veterinarian:
Princess is looking for a forever home. She is a 10 year old, spayed, retired breeding dog who is healing from a wound. Please contact us if you know anyone who is interested in giving her a loving home.
Mom understands crazy. She believes that it is okay to be crazy as long as your craziness does not hurt anyone and you own it.
To that end, mom cross-posted my photo and plea. (You see, there were already five dogs and two cats living in the Hooker Horde.)
But, at the same time, she called the veterinarian to ask if he thought bringing me home would be too much to handle; called Mary-Ann in Montana; checked with Keri, our friend who happens to be a veterinarian; and, asked Aunt Jodi to take Houston for a walk.
Even though mom was floating in a wave of denial as she drove the seven miles into town to get me, she knew.
When mom walked in, I was hanging out in the recovery room with one of our doctor’s sons. I had a makeshift halter.
Mom gasped and turned away. She’d never seen anything like the staples and open wound on my neck.
You see, the previous people did not want to pay for the surgery to remove my mass. My doctor did it anyway. He told them to bring me back in four days. 15 days later, they brought me back to the clinic with an icky infection. My doctor re-opened the wound to let it heal.
“It’s okay,” said our doctor. “She’s fine.”
Mom stuttered, “How do I . . .”
I leaned into mom. I let her know we’d figure it out.
The doctor explained, “You’ll be fine. We’ll cover it. Bring her back every other day and we’ll change the bandage.”
Mom and I drove home with antibiotics, Rimadyl and to the happy beat of my tail against the seat.
Aunt Keri came over to help introduce me to the rest of the horde. She and mom just looked at each other and said, “Yep. She’s home. She lives here.”
In the last month, mom shuttled me back and forth to the clinic to have my dressing changed. Almost two weeks ago, our doctor stitched me all the way up.
Mom would pick me up from home at lunch, drop me off at the clinic, and come get me right after school. She’d walk in and whistle and call my name, “Princess.” I talk a lot. I know my mom.
I lean up against my mom all the time. When she bends over to pick up frozen piles of poop in our backyard, I’m right there. When she makes breakfast for all of us, I’m right there. When she gets dressed, I’m right there.
On Wednesday, the longest night of the year, my stitches come out.
Our friends sent me presents fit for a Princess. My favorite is a scarf that Jake wore when he needed extra warmth on his neck. Aunt Lori sent it because it doesn’t stick to the staples.
I have a human grandma, a human uncle, and a human second cousin that love me. Plus, I have my mom. I have a big sister, even though I’m older than Faith, she’s larger in stature. I have Booker, Gus, Houston, and Betty White. They make up my canine family. I have two cats, Harold and Maude.
Writing my story was hard. But, like Princess Diana said, “When you are happy, you can forgive a great deal.”
Mom did some research and looked up the people who kept me on Facebook. While she’s appalled that my puppies paid for their Disneyland vacations, she can forgive because we are both happy. Plus, I’m a real princess now.