An Ode to Lainey

May 8, 2012


Today is my dogs birthday. Only, she is much more than a dog.

The story of Lainey is a bittersweet one. She is my baby, the most important ball of fur in my life. I will never forget the day I got her, my family, along with my neighbour and friends were all standing in my bedroom on a hot July morning. A little teeny tiny ball of fur was slowly walking up to my face as I lay in bed. My mom said “Do you want her?” And I said “Okay.”

{Me and Lainey, 2004}

Most time’s you receive a puppy as a gift when you’re a little kid. Maybe it’s your first pet, maybe a Christmas present or birthday present. But my birthday was a month before, and it was far from Christmas. You see, the reason my mom wanted to get my a puppy   that summer was an effort to make me happy. The month before, on my sixteenth birthday, my father suddenly passed away. It was unexpected and incredibly painful for our family to experience. As any mother would want to do, she only wanted to see me happy again. Although a puppy wouldn’t bring my father back, perhaps she thought it would bring a shimmer of happiness to my life. That summer was a blur and I really can’t remember much that happened that year, other than I received the best gift I could have asked for.

My mom said she wasn’t sure if she was being highly irrational, buying a new puppy amidst everything that was happening. We had a cat, an old highly temperamental one that we got when we were little. But a puppy? That was not something that we had planned. My dad had always loved dogs. He would incessantly joke to my mom that he was going to bring home a big German Shepard one day, much to her dislike. She liked dogs as well, but she was not so keen on a German shepherd. Maybe a black lab or golden retriever. A couple months earlier, in May, our neighbours dog had puppies. They had six small Shih Tzu Pomeranian’s. It’s funny, because I think my dad had seen the puppies once or twice, and told my mom “Don’t think about getting one!” in a joking manor. We never thought that we actually would get a puppy, let alone one of our neighbours.

After a couple months of my unhappiness, I guess my mom decided she would get me a puppy in hopes to bring a smile to my face. She called over to the neighbours, whom we are still quite close with, and asked if there were any puppies left to buy. Our neighbour told my mom there was one left, and a friend of her daughter’s was interested in it, but of course would love to give it to us instead.

After a week or so, our neighbour said she had been ‘kennel’ training her, and she came over to our house to stay. That summer my mom slept in my room most nights, if she slept at all. We put her in her small kennel, and turned off the lights. After a couple hours of her whining and howling, we couldn’t take it any longer. I scooped her up and put her in bed, right between her two mothers. (my mom’s the “mother” and I’m the “mommy.” She knows the difference when you ask her “where’s your mother??” She’s smart like that.

She has never spent the night in a kennel since. And yes, she is horribly spoiled. But, can you blame us?

Now, my mom says it was the best decision she ever made, bringing that little dog into our lives. We call her our Therapy Dog. She truly is the most precious little ball of fur in our lives, and has brought us both such happiness and joy. Anyone who is an animal lover can understand the bond between a pet and its owner. Having a dog made us take long walks together, walks that allowed us to talk, bond and heal. Nights when one of us was out of town, or when my brother moved out, she kept us company. She would bark if someone knocked on the door, and would alarm us if someone was there. She may be small, but she has had a huge impact on our life.

We often think about if my dad had not passed away, we may never have gotten her. I think she was meant to be in our lives, and entered at just the right time.

{Yes, she is held like a baby, and loves it}

When I was first thinking about naming her, I couldn’t decide. I had a few ideas in my head, but nothing that truly fit. Now, it’s no secret that I am a huge Seinfeld fan. One day, while my mom, Lainey, and I, were watching TV in my bed we were watching an episode of Seinfeld, a favourite of my mom and dad’s as well. Jerry often calls Elaine, Lainey, when I heard it I thought, I like that. It’s a nod to my favourite show, one of my favourite characters, and when I said it, it just fit. Now, when you say “Lainey” she cocks her head to the side, as if she knows what your saying. Saying “wanna go for….. a ….. walk?” also seems to make her tail wag. And yes, we speak in a goofy voice to her, as if she can understand us. Doesn’t every dog owner? She may be eight, but she is really just like a puppy.

Over the years she’s gotten a few nicknames, and has come to answer to them all. One of which, unfortunately, is poohface. When she was a puppy she would try and eat her pooh. Not lovely, but she was a puppy. The name poohface stuck, and now it’s almost more commonly referred to than Lainey. As well, there’s Poops, Pooh, Poop-a-loops, Poo-Poo, Laine, and a new one, baby-lou. My nickname as a child was Lou, and still is, and she’s my baby, so shes’s baby lou.

So that’s the story of how a little 10 pound dog changed our lives, and brought back a smile to our faces. She truly is a therapy dog. I constantly tell her that she is never allowed to leave me, and I secretly hope she never will.

As you can see, she lives a hard life, involving lots of lazing about, and cuddling.

Happy Eighth Birthday Lainey!


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  • Reply Margaret May 9, 2012 at 9:03 AM

    Lainey is adorable!

  • Reply Aunt Weez May 9, 2012 at 5:10 PM

    Hi my Lou, Thanks for the “ode” . As I was reading the passage I imagined what your Dad’s expressions would have been if he were still alive. His response of seeing the small ball of fluff that your Mom snuck home. Renato’s tilted head, slight crooked smile and his soft laugh of defeated acceptance. He was a lovable family Dad. I loved the picture of Barney! I loved her! Your Momma is very dear to us and you “kids.” I guess you will be “kids” at times to me. Gramma would be proud of your achievements! Luvs Aunty Weez

  • Reply Andrea May 10, 2012 at 12:39 AM

    I could not agree with it More! She is so Lucky to be so Loved. Sometimes I tell her (her head will go to one side like she’s listening “Some Dogs have no mothers you are so Lucky ” XoxoXo

  • Reply Josie Penner May 14, 2012 at 11:13 PM

    Loved the “ode” Alicia. They really do touch our hearts in a very special way. I am so glad she became your therapy dog & brought much love into your family. Paprika has done the same for us such unconditional love. People could learn by their love for their momma’s. They are like our children in so many ways. Definitely a big part of our lives. I feel sad for those who have not experienced the love & loyalty of a dog. Thanks for sharing!

    • Reply Alicia May 25, 2012 at 5:57 AM

      Yes our pets are very important 🙂 xoxo

  • Reply ‘Tis The Season » Bakeaholic December 11, 2012 at 2:07 PM

    […] did her job as a therapy dog (her original purpose), and kept me company while I wasn’t feeling […]

  • Reply Happy Birthday, Lainey - b a k e a h o l i cb a k e a h o l i c May 8, 2016 at 8:19 PM

    […] Last year I wrote about the reason we have Lainey. You can read all about that here in my ‘Ode to Lainey.’ […]

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