Little Joys—Izzy and Ruby

Izzy came to us the week we learned my mom’s cancer had come back as stage IV kidney cancer, and in the seven years since, she has been the default therapy dog in the house. Ruby joined the crew last Christmas, marking the beginning of the year that we learned Mom’s cancer is gone… NED when “NED” was Never Even a Dream.

These two are my near constant companions in the house all day, the weighted blanket of wet kisses and fluff whenever I recline. I don’t care if people think most of their anthropomorphic characteristics are just us projecting personalities onto them; pets are gifts, a delightful daily connection to the rest of creation. 

I love how they insist on being loved, how they don’t hold back from licking a hand or a face or nudging their heads under my palm to be pet and adored. I love how their entire worlds revolve around when the rest of the family comes home, how they wait at doors, how they can barely contain themselves at the mention of the words “walk” or “squirrel.”

But most of all, I love how present they are, how they seem to know when one of us is sick or sad, how they make it their jobs to comfort, to be near. They are incredibly talented at getting between me and whatever object or subject I think is more important than their time, kisses, and love. They are one of many ways God shows me what it looks like to unabashedly delight in others, to sit with people in their grief and in their joy, and to wait expectantly for whatever treasures might fall from up above (whether off the cutting board or off a TV tray or off the dining room table).

Published by Sarah M. Wells

Sarah M. Wells is the author of The Family Bible Devotional: Stories from the Gospels to Help Kids and Parents Love God and Love Others (2022), American Honey: A Field Guide to Resisting Temptation (2021), Between the Heron and the Moss (2020), The Family Bible Devotional: Stories from the Bible to Help Kids and Parents Engage and Love Scripture (2018), Pruning Burning Bushes (2012), and a chapbook of poems, Acquiesce, winner of the 2008 Starting Gate Award through Finishing Line Press (2009). Sarah's work has been honored with four Pushcart Prize nominations, and her essays have appeared in the notable essays list in the Best American Essays 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2017, and 2018. Sarah is the recipient of a 2018 Individual Excellence Award from the Ohio Arts Council. She resides in Ashland, Ohio with her husband and three children.

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