Dog breath.

Sam's way of announcing it's time for breakfast.

The Beast ready for breakfast.

When I was nine when my parents brought home a Lhasa Apso we named Dagny.  She was my great joy, biggest love and constant companion for 16 years. When Dagny died my heart was torn open, leaving a deep, black hole of sadness. But then Cleo, another Lhasa, entered my life and helped ease the pain. Next came Katie, the sweetest Jack Russell who playfully bounced into my world when my son was three. I now have two Boxers: Pinky, a bumbling ball of energy and determination, and Sam, my steadfast companion and protector who I affectionately call The Beast.

I’ve learned much from my lovelies, including: whether gone for five days or five minutes, sincere, overjoyed greetings always melt a heart; a wagging tail or slobbery wet kiss is more sincere than the words “I’m sorry;” a quiet head in my lap shows me I’m loved when I’m feeling unloved. But what I’ve learned most of all is when it’s time to eat, it’s time to eat.

My dogs have made me a morning person.  Each day around 5:30 am Sam wakes up and decides it’s time for breakfast. He does a little shake, comes over to the side of the bed and puts his muzzle in my face. With beady eyes and stinky dog breath, he’ll stay that way until I rise. When we’re at the farm he takes it a step further. He’ll jump on my bed, lay down and put his head on my chest with his muzzle right up to my face until he gets my attention. (See photo: This is what I woke to today.) The best part, he’s teaching Pinky his determined ways. Oh joy.

I wouldn’t change rising before the sun for anything. It’s a small price to pay for the many years of love my pets have given me. And, for that, I’m truly blessed…stinky dog breath and all.

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