We are blessed beyond all measure by an outpouring of love from two of the sweetest dogs on the planet.  Yes, I know, everyone says that about their dog but whatever…ours are.  I should make them t-shirts or something.

Granted, Gracie might give me conniptions more often than not, but she balances it out with fierce loyalty and a bumbling goofiness that’s beyond adorable.  And while Phoebe can be a bit jumpy (in a “mafia boss in witness protection the day before testifying” sort of way) she is just about the sweetest, snuggliest dog we’ve ever had.

These two are great big bundles of furry love, and I see that devotion all the time.  But their boundless adoration is heightened when we pick them up from the kennel.


It’s not that they hate the kennel.  The people there are awesome, and our dogs are genuinely happy to see them at drop off.  Plus Gracie and Phoebe seem really excited once they hear all the other dogs they’ll get to meet during their stay.  So I know they’re in good hands, and I’m sure my goofballs are getting big love while they’re there, but I’m always glad when it’s time to bring them home.

The checkout process is deceptively straightforward: sign your dog out, pay for the stay, and then off you go.  Oddly enough, our checkouts never seem to feel quite that simple.  Hmmm.

After I’ve finished up front a staff member goes to get the girls.  At this point I start to mentally brace myself for the impending blitz.  I assess my environment – how many people are in the (remarkably small) waiting area?  Are there any other dogs present? Do I have someone with me to help or will I be juggling Gracie and Phoebe by myself?  Did I remember to wear closed toe shoes?  (Not a detail I used to think about until the day Gracie tore my foot UP trying to leave.)

I can usually hear them coming right about the time I finish my appraisal.  There’s a furious scurrying on the other side of the door, the sound of at least one very large dog pulling hard on her leash, with paws slipping across the floor like a four-year-old on skates.  I’ll hear booming barks as my furry kids meet up with any daycare dogs roaming the building.  When I hear the staffer fumbling for the doorknob I know it’s Go Time.

She’ll pull open the door and find herself yanked forward as Gracie or Phoebe (or both) hurtle themselves into the room.  Gracie’s got serious force behind her – come hell or high water, her immediate and urgent goal is to reach my side and then (in quick succession) the door heading outside.  Phoebe may lack Gracie’s brute strength but her frenetic energy compels swift movement toward me.  She gives off a vibe that distinctly screams There!  There!  I have to get there RIGHT NOW because those are my people!  Let’s go Let’s go Let’s go!!!

It’s highly effective.

Today I’m grateful for more than the dogs’ immeasurable capacity to love.  I’m grateful for those moments when their faces register sheer joy, simply because I’ve come for them.

My post as part of Colline’s Gratitude Project.