I know it’s been a long time. I’ve been a huge slacker and there really isn’t any other excuse besides that. I won’t bore you with the pleasantries of returning, but instead am diving straight into this.
As this new year gets into full swing, I’ve started thinking more and more about actually sharing Xeva’s story and the challenges that we’ve faced with her. One question always pulls me up short- where to begin?
The beginning would be the easiest answer, but even now after three years, reflecting on that beginning is still so very raw and difficult to tell.
Yet, the middle isn’t fair either. It does her no justice to showing how far she has truly come and how much she has yet to grow, and us with her.
The end? The end will come only on the day she takes her last breath and is released from this world from our loving and protecting arms to join our loved ones who have gone before. Only then will her journey, and ours with her, truly be over.
I’m not sure where to truly begin, but a beginning must be made.
These last three years have been so filled with tears, laughter, and learning. So many times that we have sat in the car after a rough experience at training and wept. So many times our trainer and other special group members have reminded us how far she has come, and how much we have learned with her. Yet, even through all the rough, she has been nothing if not our loving, toy sharing, sweetheart of a lovebug.
We have a phrase that our group uses to describe our special dogs, coined by our learning with Xeva- the mirror cracked. At some point, all of our dogs’ mirrors cracked. Some of them to lesser degrees than others, but the cracks formed nonetheless and their image was forever changed.
Her story is one that deserves to be told. I just question if I’m strong enough to write those raw truths and bare it all. There have been many accusations of “What did you do to make her this way?” or “Well, it must have been something you did.”
One day, she looked in that mirror, and it cracked and part of her was lost.
There was nothing that we did, or did not do to this sweet girl that made her into what she is. We were asked if we had ever hit her with a newspaper or otherwise, and that simple veiled accusation broke my heart. This was the same dog that looked at you as though her very soul had crumpled beneath your words if you so much as raised your voice to her. The girl that had to be reprimanded for her treat stealing naughtiness with a cheerful but firm, “Uh-oh!”. The same girl, that, despite her specialness, was so loving and willing to cuddle and play with her people with unbridled joy and affection as she always had. Never once was a hand raised against her in anger, no matter how naughty she had been. To think of anyone striking that poor girl for being something that she truly couldn’t help, broke something inside of me and leaves me in tears, even to this day.
On that March day two years ago, that mirror cracked and our journey truly began.
Her story is not an easy one to tell, but it deserves to be told. So, slowly, but surely, and with many a tear filled session, the story of Xeva is beginning to be voiced.