Apr 28, 2011

McGruff Stanley

Today is my dog’s 6th birthday. SIX!! I can’t believe it. I have no words to describe the love that I have for this little guy, but I’m going to try anyway.

McGruff was a discount puppy, a Yorkie who was “too big” to be a show dog, so the breeder gave him to us as a discount. I will never ever forget the first time I saw him. I took one look at him and just knew I was meant to be his mommy. He was a fat, furry little guy who kinda resembled a bear. I had a short list of names that I was trying to choose from for this new puppy. I asked him if he liked each of the different names and got no response; but when I said “do you want to be McGruff?” he looked up at me and barked. And that was that. There has never been a more perfect name for a dog, especially this particular dog. He is, in every essence, the epitome of a crime fighting dog- or, at least, he thinks he is :)

I tell people to this day that our bond was sealed on our first road trip together. About a week after I got him, I took him to visit my parents out of town. I know that dogs don’t think like people do, I understand that. But I think that somewhere something clicked in his brain: everything in his environment had changed, except me, I was the same. And that night, before we fell asleep, he turned his head to look at me, gave me one quick little lick on the cheek and snuggled in for the night. I think that was his moment to tell me that he loved me too.
I had gotten McGruff as a present for my 21st birthday. I didn’t know it at the time, but it was the perfect timing for a puppy to come into my life. When I turned 21, I went through a major life transition, leaving behind a safety net for new and uncharted waters. Trust me when I say, those uncharted waters were rough. But through all of that, there was McGruff. For years, he was the only example I had of true, honest, nonjudgemental, unconditional love. He loved me when I thought no one else did. He even loved me when I didn’t know how to love myself. No matter what kind of day I had, no matter what had happened, I’d come home, and there he’d be; happy as ever and excited to see me.

When I met my future husband, McGruff welcomed him with open arms (or paws... whatever.) And then, when said husband decided we needed another dog, Gruff welcomed him into our lives, no questions asked. I’m not going to lie, McGruff definitely had to show the new puppy who was boss, but they’re best friends to this day. Shamus (aforementioned ‘new puppy’) now outweighs Gruff by a solid 70 pounds, but McGruff still runs this household with an iron fist. 

        On the day I got married, when all of my bridesmaids were at my house getting ready for the wedding, there was McGruff; just sitting on my bed watching the pretty girls around him. (He’d have worn a doggy tux and been in the wedding if the venue would have allowed it. But that’s neither here nor there.) I was struck, in that moment of happiness, how much this little dog and I had been through together and how he’d stood by me through thick and thin, and I got a little teary eyed (shocker, I know.)
On the day I brought Lucie home from the hospital, McGruff didn’t really take it so well. I’m not sure why, but I think he instantly understood that our lives were going to be drastically different. Those first few nights, every single tiny peep Lucie made would send him into a frenzy of whining and barking. Was he trying to help me? Trying to let me know that the baby needed me? I don’t know...    He loves Lucie, don’t get me wrong; he wants to lick her face and cuddle her and be her best friend. He can not, for the life of him, understand why she doesn’t play with him (yet.) But, I’m very sad to say, having Lucie here has definitely aged the little guy. 
Seeing him get older makes me sad, but I tell myself he’s got many years left in him. But more than sadness, I am overwhelmed by the happiness that this little dog has brought into my life. I only hope that he knows how much I love him because I have never, not ever doubted the love that he has for me. So happy 6th birthday McGruff Stanley! And cheers to many, many more!!


FyshWyfe said...

I love that dog. He's the reason I got dogs!

Landrie said...

I always forget that, but it always makes me smile when you remind me :)