Today is Jilly's eleventh birthday! It's amazing and joyful and, yes, a miracle. Because 14 months ago, the vets gave Jilly only 3 months to live. But true to her beautiful soul and stubborn nature, she's here next to me playing with her new Kong toy.
She is my sweetness and light.
She walks to the park and back with me every morning. Most of the regulars, both dogs and humans, know her by name. Some give her treats and others pet her but everyone she meets leaves with a smile on their face.
She is also strong.
She is very stubborn and willful and has a very keen sense of right and wrong. When I do something wrong, like being late with her dinner, she lets me know loud and clear. If she wants to play ball, well, we play ball. If she doesn't want to come in from her sunny spot on the lawn, forget trying to get her to move. And when I'm busy and she really wants my attention, she picks up a bamboo stick and runs away with it.
She may not have graduated to be a guide dog, but I know she is my dog and my guide. I've learned a lot from Jilly over the years about how to stand your ground, be true to yourself and make time to play. The most important lesson of all: don't take what doctors say to be true or absolutely right.
I'm so very thankful they were so very wrong.
They told me she would die in 3 months. She didn't. They told me not to play ball with her or she'd get worse. She didn't. They told me she had to have her spleen removed but even that wouldn't save her from death. She didn't have her spleen removed and she lived.
This morning, she woke up, walked over to my side of the bed and kissed my hand. Ok, slobbered it, really. I reached out, patted her and said, "Good morning, sweetness and light."
She's given me so much: love, silliness, faith, hope and lots of sloppy kisses.
Happy Birthday, Jilly, my sweet, miracle dog! Here's hoping for much more love and silliness every morning for a long, long time.