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The Christmas Miracle

Updated: Mar 14, 2022

As many of you know we have been hoping for a miracle as our darling Emma as been fighting for her life the past weeks. She nearly lost that battle this past Monday, but we got our miracle just the same. In fact we might have two miracles in one which is always exciting. One was a miracle we were not even looking for, but it arrived, and I am forever grateful to Emma for teaching me such a valuable lesson. More on that ahead. The other miracle, and hopefully the one we were looking for, is still in the works. Emma is in the ICU, and we believe she is in the best hands possible.

Emma came to live with us on August 8,2020, at 9 weeks young. She was a beautiful girl purportedly a lab mix, or so the rescue believed. It did not take too long for us to realize that she was more terrier mix and less lab mix. She was wickedly smart and only after three accidents, two of which were our fault, she was completely potty trained.

She was a holy terror and loved to nip at everything and everybody. ‘Mom’ says that Emma will always be with her as there are a ton of scars on her forearms from Emma Love Nips. Emma loves everything outside, but we kept her on a lead that first summer and fall as we knew we would soon return to Florida and our winter home, where only leashed dogs were allowed.

The magic happened in early September. One morning Emma decided she did not want to descend the stairs for her morning ritual. I sat on the second stair down for the landing and Emma took on the role as master and was in her glory as we tarried there in silence for about 15 minutes. I began to love this new ritual and looked forward to what I entitled My Mornings with Emma. It was a time for great reflection and unconditional love between a dog and the human who had been blessed by having temporary custody of her. Before long, our morning ritual migrated into afternoon naps.

Emma is a gregarious soul and loves to play, but she has a timid streak. On our first trip from New York to Florida she was so scared that she was unable to do her business and at one point we pulled off into the emergency lane of the highway as we thought an accident was upon us.

The master of the nickname, I bestowed a dozen or so on her and then one stuck. Binkie. We immediately crafted the phrase “Don’t be a Stinky, be a Binkie.” So it was, she became Binkie and even our granddaughter had great fun chasing Binkie around the house and yard. A broad grin always accompanies each “Binkie”, and it makes me smile as I type.

Binkie has the most amazing personality I have ever seen. She loves to smile and her eyes twinkle as she chases her ball and demonstrates her superiority, until a leaf or other unknown danger, maybe a falling branch, would have her pause. When we decorated the Christmas tree this year Emma was frightened and even refused to retrieve her beloved ball as it had rolled under the tree.

She came to us at 7 pounds and today she weighs in at 55. She’s 8 pounds shy of her top weight as the disease that has ravaged her tiny body has weakened her ability to eat. We are clinging on to hope and that hope is a wellspring. We are gratified that she seems to be turning the corner.

When we were advised all hope was lost, we gave Binkie, her favorite ball so she would have it in heaven. I never thought much about dogs going to heaven, but I reflect upon the matter consistently these last few weeks. If she loses this battle our Binkie will be out of pain and I believe that there is a pool, a lake, and a big stick the size you’ve never seen, and her first decision will be to decide which one to attack first. If she passes on, I sure hope she finds my dad. That would be so cool.

Returning to the miracle, the one that is in the bank, it is difficult to describe. I have spent a portion of the past five decades in the companion animal nutrition business. I have studied the relationship between pet-parent and pet. I understand it and it's hard coded into my thought process. Said another way, the anthropomorphizing of dogs and cats is a subject on which I am well versed.

Some say the hardest distance to traverse is the distance between head and heart. Less than three feet from each other, I never made the connection. Thanks to Emma, my heart is full, and I am forever grateful to her for having provided me with the opportunity to grow in such an amazing fashion. It is an epiphany of miraculous proportions. All you crazy pet parents, I am one of you now. Hooray.

- Elliott

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