By Coleen Ellis

I don’t hesitate to raise my hand when people ask “who loves animals?” In all of my travels, and it seems like a conversation that can happen with any age from Boomers to Millennials, I’m finding people love to proudly admit they are a pet mommy, a pet daddy, they have granddogs, or their niece is a Poodle. It’s always the start to a very spirited and colorful conversation full of smiles, laughs, and sometimes a tear or two.

As I sit on the edge of my precious girl’s fifteenth anniversary of her death, I think back to the one small spoiled rotten little dog who rocked my world, who “made me a mommy,” and who is driving my world today as my “why.” Sure, I’m like a lot of pet people, I was blessed to grow up with pets. But they were the family pets. With my first big girl, out-of-college, and paying-my-own-bills life, came a shelter dog. She was all mine, and she was going to teach me about being a pet mommy, lessons on being fully responsible for another being (other than a skin-child!), and lessons on loving so much my heart hurt.

To this day, I’m so grateful for what she taught me, what she gave to me, and what I take with me every day in my earthly existence.

However, I will tell you, even to this day, I still have twinges of guilt. I feel bad about the times I got angry with her, I grumbled because she was coughing that horrendous lung-cancer hack, and she came to me needy at a time when I was “busy.” I still have conversations with her, apologizing for my shortcomings when all she wanted was care and love. Yes, all of that, 15 years later.

But, what I also know is that typical of her and all of our unconditional-love laden babies, I know she forgave me a long time ago. I know she knew I was doing the best I could do.

RIP, Mico.

Thanks for letting me share a bit of my heart with you, early on this Wednesday morning.