I'm so grateful to be celebrating Jilly's 10th birthday! Not just because she's such a sweet, smart and loyal friend. Not just because this marks her 9 years of being part of our family. But because she's STILL HERE.
A month and a half ago, she was in the vets office going through a variety of tests. The results were scary and ominous. I wrote about it here.
Today is a reason to celebrate.
Jilly is alive. She's still walking to the park with us every morning. Still sniffing the shrubbery. Still begging for cookies. And still with me, sleeping on the carpet at my feet. Right now.
I am so, so happy and grateful, today. But I confess, I didn't always feel this way.
Jilly was a challenge as a pup. She came to us as a Guide Dog Career Changer at 14 months full of spirit and spunk with a definite rebellious streak. She and I were not best buds then. We were student and teacher working through a series of difficult problems. I wrote about it here and here.
It was tough. It took time. But we made it.
She learned to respond to hand signals instead of the words that brought her fear. She learned to follow me and find me by playing games of chase and hide and seek. Now she's known throughout the neighborhood and park as the sweet girl who greets everyone happily. Now she knows where I am at all times and when my husband is coming home. She plays ball not keep away. And loves to eat strawberries right out of my garden.
She's a blessing.
And I'm blessed to have her in my life. Ten years doesn't seem like a long time, really. In fact, it doesn't feel nearly long enough.
So I want to be sure to celebrate today. And everyday, she's still here with me.
I'll even let her eat all the strawberries in my garden this year and, hopefully, next year too!