Wednesday, June 7, 2017

The Dog Who Saved Me

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This post is sponsored by Boehringer Ingelheim, a world-leading animal health company providing a comprehensive range of products to enhance the health and well-being of dogs, but all opinions are my own. Please see below for additional disclosure.
In 2008, I became a statistic.
It’s been quite some time since I’ve talked openly about my miscarriage on this blog. In fact, it’s been a little more than eight years since it happened and today, I’m working with the HEARTGARD® Plus (ivermectin/pyrantel) team to share my story, because while this post will recount some of the deepest, darkest moments of my life, it isn’t really about what I went through during that time. Instead, it’s about how 25 pounds of slobber and fur saved me.
Everyone has their own way of dealing with their grief when it comes to the loss of a pregnancy and I chose to experience that loss privately, or as privately as someone could losing a baby at 14 weeks. It was an odd reaction, I guess, especially when everyone around me was devastated. After all, my husband and I had only been married a year and although this baby wasn’t planned, we embraced our new addition with open arms and open hearts and shared our news as soon as we gleefully moved beyond the safe zone at 12 weeks. But then I woke up bleeding in a hotel while on vacation with my husband’s family and everything changed.
Family and friends sent sympathy cards and flowers while I tried my hardest to pretend like nothing was different. Ignoring our loss and the deep grief that surrounded it helped me in a way to move past those overwhelming feelings of loss and defeat. I was okay until I wasn’t. In the weeks and months following my miscarriage, I would have these moments where I was absolutely blindsided by feelings of sadness, guilt and fear. What had I done wrong? How had my body failed this precious life? Would I ever be able to have a healthy baby? I was broken and I didn’t have any idea how to fix myself.
I quickly learned that in the midst of tragedies like the one we went through there are countless blessings to acknowledge and be grateful for. One of these blessings came to me in the form of a puppy. Three months after I walked out of that hospital with nothing more than a pack of super strength maxi-pads and a “don’t worry, this happens all of the time” from an OB I’d never met before, I met and fell in love with an Olde English Sheepdog puppy.
There will never be any doubt in my mind about how this dog saved me. Sullivan was a true gift to me during a dark time in my life and there isn’t a day that passes that I don’t think about how much he means to me and our family. He was there for me before there ever was a “family,” and when those moments of grief and loss would engulf me, he would be at my side before the tears even started to fall down my face. His sense of empathy and his innate ability to bring comfort during these times of duress is not something I’ll soon forget. Just sitting here, reliving these moments is difficult and while I cringe at my own weakness, I can recall curling up into a ball around Sullivan, burying my face into his thick coat and crying as if it was yesterday.  
It would have been easy to become overwhelmed during those early puppy months while focusing on housebreaking and training up a new pup, but I quickly learned that Sullivan brought so much more joy into our lives than stress. He helped heal me from the inside out and when I became pregnant a little over two years later, he continued to be a source of comfort and reassurance that I will forever be grateful for.

Here we are, 8 years and three little boys later, and Sullivan remains one of the most beloved members of our pack. He loves our boys immensely- protecting them from skinned knees and things that go bump in the night. He comforts them when they cry and goads them into playing fetch when the moment moves him. I can’t even begin to picture a single day without Sullivan in it.

I’ve experienced firsthand the healing nature of dogs and I’m pleased to share with you that the
HEARTGARD® Plus (ivermectin/pyrantel) team and Warrior Canine Connection® (WCC) are joining forces to help bring the healing power of dogs to Service Members, Veterans and their families. WCC offers canine-assisted therapy to service members and veterans affected by the invisible wounds of war. With your participation the HEARTGARD Plus team will help WCC continue its mission of helping U.S. Service Members and Veterans reconnect with their life, their families and their communities through the healing power of the human-animal bond.

From now to June 30, the HEARTGARD Plus team is offering supporters nationwide the opportunity to nominate a deserving U.S. Veteran or Service Member to win an all-expense-paid trip to Nashville and a year’s supply of HEARTGARD Plus for their dog. For every nomination, the HEARTGARD Plus team will donate $10 to WCC. The HEARTGARD Plus team will contribute up to $100,000 to WCC in 2017.
I’m nominating my dear friend’s husband, Corporal Thomas “Skipper” Solimando. A U.S. Marine, dedicated husband and father to two beautiful little girls, “Skip” served overseas in Operation Iraqi Freedom 2, from 2004-2005. While a simple “thank you” will never be enough, I love that this platform gives voice to so many service men and women. After all, every Veteran is worthy of recognition for honorably serving their country and recognizing his or her sacrifice brings the value of our American freedoms to life.
Veterans can be nominated on or via Twitter® or Instagram® by using the hashtags #NominateAVeteran and #Sweepstakes.
The love of a pet is truly unmatched. From ashes comes beauty and while Sullivan will never replace the baby we lost, both he and his love for our family remains a priceless addition to the story of us. We are so undeniably happy that he is ours to love.

The maker of HEARTGARD® Plus (ivermectin/pyrantel) worked with bloggers like me for its “Heartgardians” program. This blog has been written by me on behalf of the HEARTGARD Plus team. I received compensation for my time.
®HEARTGARD and the Dog & Hand logo are registered trademarks of Merial. All other marks are the property of their respective owners.
©2017 Merial, Inc., Duluth, GA. All rights reserved. Merial is now part of Boehringer Ingelheim. [WCC_Social4] (6/17)
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1 comment :

  1. This post brought back some raw memories for me as I had a miscarriage with my very first pregnancy back in 2010. As a matter of fact, we are just four days away from the anniversary of that horrible day when our ultrasound tech couldn't find the heartbeat at my 12 week appointment. That was definitely the darkest time in my life as well. I felt immense sadness... a sadness like I had never experienced before, I felt ashamed, and I felt completely inadequate as a woman. It was by far the worst time in my life. We had just gotten a puppy a few months prior and she was such a comfort to me during that time. After my D&C she curled up with me and didn't leave my side for days. She helped me heal, and here we are seven years and two precious, healthy babies later! And the babies love our sweet puppy so much! It's funny how life has a way of working out, isn't it?


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