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The therapy dog

My oldest daughter lives with the diagnosis of “schizo-effective with bipolar disorder”, or rather we do.  Every day is a struggle to find reality and sanity.  She is a truly outstanding person.  She (J) volunteers every day she can at a local high school as a librarian.  Since in this day and age schools can not pay a librarian, it has been a blessing.  Every day I have her has been a blessing.

Eleven years ago the doctors told us to find a therapist and get her an animal.  Just out luck, she settled on a tiny Boston Terrier.  She named her Lainie (after some singer) and brought her home.  I really thought this was a silly idea.  Lainie from day one (at 5 and 1/2 weeks) followed J everywhere.  For a thing that looked like a bug-eyed rat puppy she was a defender against evil to rival Luke Skywalker.

I remember at 8 weeks I was painting the front porch.  Lainie came and got me, alerting me to J having an episode.  She followed this pattern from at time forward.  Jessi learned to say “puppy” and “I have the best girl” as a touchstone for reality when things got rough.  When J would go into treatment the dog slept on one of J’s shirts.

This dog was not a saint.  She was the master of the dog-joke.  If gassy she would come and set at my feet.  Lainie was a connoisseur of some truly horrible things.  She beat up the bulldog (Ceaser) who was easily four times her size.  She convinced all the dogs she was alpha of the neighborhood.  She could not calm down or slow.

Saturday she fell in the yard while trashtalking a neighborhood dog.  I ran outside, she continued to lie there.  I asked her if she was ok.  She blinked and got up.  We went back inside.

Yesterday (4/20 – another dog joke) J took her to the vet.  The vet said she would be fine.  Within three hours Lainie suffered a massive heart attack and passed away.

This morning I ache.  I ache all over.  I cannot fathom living without this horrible, smelly, bossy, caring little dog.  I worry about the future of my daughter.

Jesus, thank you for the eleven years we had with Lainie-bug.  Thank you for the care this animal took of my daughter.  Thank you that this dog seemed to know how to calm this illness.  Help me in the days to come face this loss.

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