Thank you to our newest blogger, Andrea LaRoche, for this sweet story!

Not “Just a Dog”

I still remember Julie asking me, “Do you want me to keep Skipper longer?”  I had just given birth to my son, Lucien, two days ago, and my good friend Julie was watching my beloved dog, Skipper.  LaRoche Image

Flash back: my husband, Levi, had just left on deployment.  When I got home from dropping Levi off at the airport, Skipper rushed out of the house to greet me as usual.  My husband was gone.  He was on a plane headed to Iraq, thousands of miles away from me while I was 32 weeks pregnant stuck on this tiny island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.  I did not want to go inside our empty house that night, but at least I had Skipper.

Lucien was born seven weeks after Levi left.  It was like I was living in a dark cloud the whole time I was in the hospital, and it finally started raining when I came home.

I don’t think I had ever changed a diaper before.  I had never babysat before.  I didn’t even like holding other people’s babies.  I had no idea how to take care of a baby and I was scared to do it by myself.

LaRoche HomecomingReality hit.  It was not fair, my husband would not be coming home for five more months.  He would not meet his son until he was five months old.  Lucien would not be a tiny 6 pound baby when his father came home, he would be a chunky 16 pound baby.  I would sit in front of the computer for hours crying and writing depressing emails to my husband.  Sometimes I could not stop crying.  I was tired and all I wanted to do was sleep.  Except whenever I was ready to go to bed, Lucien would wake up crying.

That is why I needed Skipper to be home, he was the only thing familiar to me.  It felt normal if he was waiting there to greet me.  I was going home alone with a brand new baby, I did not have my husband to help me, I did not have my mom, but at the very least, I had my dog.

Perhaps you can see why he was not “just a dog” to me, but someone I could always depend on to make things feel “normal” during all those months my husband was gone.


 “Our animals shepherd us through certain eras of our lives.  When we are ready to turn the corner and make it on our own, they let us go.”