Happiness is a warm puppy. ~Charles M. Schulz

I was given a wonderful gift last night. Ziva slept in the bed with me all night. While that is not a big deal to most, it was HUGE for Ziva.

This is Ziva.

Ziva came to me through an email sent by someone looking to save this girl from certain death in a high kill shelter. I see lots of dogs posted and they all tug at my heart, but when I saw her face ravaged by fear and pain, I had to bring her home. She weighed 48 lbs. and was heartworm positive. It was obvious that she had been well-used as a brood bitch and had never experienced good care much less kindness in quite some time. Ziva was not the first dog that I had rescued, but she was the first dog that came to my home not knowing any love.

When I awoke this morning and felt her still beside me, it brought me to tears. Jethro came in and jumped on the bed; they both started nosing me. My two furbabies knew something was up. I remembered what it was like to be loved only conditionally for much of my life, To never feel as though I deserved anything good and positive. When it was presented to me, I didn’t know how to accept it. I still have trouble with these things and it is mirrored in Ziva. Jethro reminds both of us that everything will be OK, no matter what.

Ziva has been afraid to trust and so have I. It has been a struggle for both of us.

Ziva and Jethro went to the groomers this past weekend. Jethro acted like he was being abandoned but it’s all boy and all drama. Poor little Ziva began to tremble all over. The groomer was so good with her. By the time I returned, they were at least friends. But before Ziva saw me, I could see the hope and the anxiety warring with each other in her kind face. And when she saw me, she gave a cry that tore at my heart ‘You DIDN’T abandon me!’ and threw herself at me. Jethro was much the same. It feels so good to be wanted, even if I am a means of escape.

Once again, I am reminded that we are not alone. In the past, the combination of ego and low self-esteem sent me on many a fruitless chase for acceptance from people who I WANTED to like ME, instead of focusing on those that already did. Now there are people in my life that like me for who I am, warts and all. Four-legged as well as two-legged. Best of all, I am learning to like myself.

Charles Schultz gave us so many examples of how to keep life simple. He was able to express it through his art and to bring laughter and joy to so many. I don’t know what I would have done without his outlook on life while growing up. ‘Peanuts’ was is emotional anchor of sorts for me and I never tire of watching ‘Charlie Brown Christmas’ each December.

Happiness IS a warm puppy. And I am finally starting to recognize what that feels like.