5 ½ years ago, we welcomed our youngest into our home. She was abandoned in Puerto Rico with no mother in sight and our hearts cried out to help this precious little one. We adopted her at a mere 4 months old after seeing her and experiencing true love at first sight. She was the cutest bundle of joy you can possibly imagine, complete with blonde peach fuzz, big brown eyes, and a sweet disposition peppered with just a hint of mischief. We knew she would be the perfect addition to our family. Since my father had passed away a few years before, we wanted to name her in his memory. My dad’s name was Morty so we knew we needed a name that began with an M. My daughter Jaime suggested Maria in homage to the baby’s Puerto Rican heritage. Brandon, my son who was a bit younger, playfully chimed in with the name of Muffin but after going through the list of Molly and Maggie and Melissa, we decided Mischa fit her perfectly. As she grew, she became such a wonderful part of our family. Today, we cannot imagine life without her. The way she snuggles with us in bed, the warm kisses she so freely dispenses, the angelic way she looks when she is taking a nap, and the determined way she chases squirrels in the backyard, all make our adorable Mischa the best dog we have ever had!
OK, so I fooled you into believing I was talking about a baby. First of all, 5 ½ years ago, at 48 years old, I was definitely not entertaining the thought of having another child. Secondly, I was already a mom to two kids, bonus mom to two more, I was working full time, and there were simply not enough hours in the day. But growing up always having dogs in our home, I missed the unconditional friendship a canine companion offered. I liked the idea of someone greeting me excitedly whenever I came through the door, even if I had only been gone for a nano-second to take out the trash. I looked forward to someone listening to me without any sassing, someone who would do as I said and follow my rules, just because I was the mommy, someone who actually liked whatever meal I prepared. No arguing about getting homework done, no worrying about missed curfews, no complaints about what was to be served for dinner. Please don’t get me wrong. I adore my children. They truly are, and will always be, the loves of my life. But how can I resist a bundle of fluff who wags not only her tail, but her whole body every time I do something as simple as say “What a good puppy!” or scratch behind her ears. She almost never barks and she is always up for spending time with me. Since she was a stray in Puerto Rico, she was already house-trained when we brought her home and has never had a single accident. What a difference from my children’s potty-training adventures of days gone by! Mischa seems to love absolutely everyone she meets to the point that we describe her as our “Watch Dog”… if someone came to rob our house, she’d WATCH! It’s as if she never takes me or her life for granted. Every single thing I do seems to make her grateful for having a home where she is loved, fed, kept warm, and played with. She loves me with her heart, her soul, the warm kisses of her tongue, and her perpetually wagging tail. I hope that one day I can become the person Mischa already thinks I am. But as much as she has received from me, I have certainly received even more from her. As Buffalo author Margery Facklam so eloquently stated, “We give dogs time we can spare, space we can spare, and love we can spare. And in return, dogs give us their all. It’s the best deal man has ever made.” Amen to that!