Joy thinks she’s my dog. She’s never been my dog. She was the puppy I got from someone I worked with to help my dog, Blackie, get out of the funk she’d fallen into when Blackie’s mother, Magic, died. I was in a funk too, but I had no interest in another dog. My motive was to make Blackie move from her mother’s favorite spot in the blue recliner. I wanted Blackie to eat with gusto again. I wanted to assuage her grief.
It worked. Blackie moved from the blue recliner, if just to get away from Joy, at first. Later she jumped down to go outside with Joy. Blackie couldn’t bear to see Joy eating all the food, so she jumped down to join her. Blackie sat with Joy and taught her tricks, like catching thrown bits of food in the air. Whatever Blackie did, Joy did.
My sons spent time with Joy. One trained her to do her business outside while the other played with an old basketball with her. I watched Blackie and was glad I’d gotten Joy.
When we moved, Joy was tied to a tree out front while the doors were open for the movers to bring in everything. Blackie sat inside with me. Joy was still a puppy and watched in amazement as everything was brought past her from the truck into the house.
Joy doesn’t sleep in my room. She has never slept in my room. There’s been a few times she’s slept up against my bedroom door . . . on the other side. She sleeps in the guest room and often one of my sons is in there with her. Joy’s never been my dog.
This morning when I went out to fix breakfast, Joy jumped up from her bed and wagged her whole body when she saw me. Why? I took her outside since I thought that was what she wanted. How happy she was to be there. Outside is that mysterious place where she can smell smells and see things she can’t see from inside the house. I always stay out with her until she’s ready to come in.
Once back inside, she grabbed a tennis ball in her mouth and used her front paws to push one towards me. I was busy fixing breakfast. She was so insistent, I finally picked one up and threw it down the hall for her to chase. She ran back with it between her front paws, as she still carried one in her mouth. She reminds me of a soccer player the way she can handle moving a tennis ball. Tail wagging, she pushed the ball towards my foot. I ignored her and she did it again. Annoyed I picked up the ball and pretended to throw it. She ran down the hall and I bounced it in the kitchen to let her know I still had it. She ran back, tail wagging, and was so happy that I did throw it down the hall this time.
Breakfast made, I put her plate down in front of her. Her tail continued to wag as she began to eat.
Joy is the embodiment of happiness. Joy has lifted my spirits more times than I can count. I had to quit work in 2015. I was not happy about it. Blackie sat on the porch with me day after day while I watched the world go by and felt sorry for myself. When we came in, Joy met me at the door with a tennis ball and wanted to play. More times than not, I threw it more out of anger than out of wanting to play. Little by little, Joy taught me that all was not over. It is hard to stay mad or sad when a dog is being silly and bouncing down the hall and wagging her tail.
Joy came into our lives to lift Blackie’s spirits. I never knew she’d do the same for me. Joy is my dog. Blackie is still my dog, but Joy belongs to me.