To Talia on Her 17th Birthday

While on vacation in California this July, I received a text from the youngest daughter, Talia, announcing that a dog had been rescued and was living with the two teenage daughters currently at home alone. In this text from the youngest daughter was a long list of why said dog should stay. Mainly, she stressed that this dog would be the blonde replacement for the blonde older sister, Hannah, who was leaving for college in two weeks. This sentence was followed with: “Please tell Dad.”

I gave her 10 days to potty train this dog. (I wanted to name her Mary Murphy, but was told that she was not my dog.) 

10 days have come and gone. She is not entirely potty trained. But…well, here we are:


Talia the Rescuer

Sherman, the 13-year-old cat in the shelter for six months
came home with a tearful 13-year-old daughter.
6 months after Sherman, the 14-year-old cat died,
 there was Shelly, the 12-year-old cat in kidney failure

2 months after Shelly passed,
Surely, a 4-year-old obese fluff ball came home too.
Surely- the *%#!@ 
She’s a cat too.
She’s not very nice.
Her full name is Surely You Didn’t Just Call Me Surely.
It fits.

well, yeah, maybe, I brought all of these animals home.
But, I brought them home for Talia. Who wanted them.
I swear.

And then there’s
Me.
Talia rescues me when I’m a sobbing, pitiful failure
By raising herself out of her teenage self to encourage.
She always knows how point out that I am not as pitiful as I think.

But mostly,
there’s Chewie.

A matted,
Tossed around,
Scared,
Skinny
Dogsortof.
Not yet a dog when found frantically trying to get out of a lake.
But now,
 Chewie is the sweet rescuer of the perpetually sad Talia,
and
Snickers, the 13-year-old first pet dog who is romping again
and
Surely, who is less of a *%#!@
and
Hannah, the sister who moves out today and turns to mush at the sight of Chewie,
and
Me, again, who sees the change in all of the above,
and
the Dad, who is more in love with Chewie than anyone else.

We all laugh at, love, play with, cuddle and adore

Chewie
A scrawny, mess of calm grace and playful gratitude.
A little portable mop that found our home
Because Talia is a rescuer of vulnerability
And abandoned, hopeful causes.
Where there is an ache,
There will be
Talia to the rescue.
Thank God.

To Talia on her 17th birthday:
GIFT CERTIFICATE
ONE SPAYED, VACCINATED DOG
WITH OBEDIENCE TRAINING.
Take good care. 
Both of you.

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