DogsFamilyFamily With DogsMotherhood

A Dog’s Purpose

This Post is Sponsored by Universal Pictures’ new film A Dog’s Purpose, in theaters January 27.  As always, all opinions are my own.  Thank You For Sponsoring CityGirlGoneMom!

Every dog happens for a reason and no dog owner can define their pet with just a single word, especially after it leaves us. Saying goodbye to the pet you love is like having all of your nerve endings exposed, and more often than not, we outlive our pets, and have to face that agony.  At the same token, I simply couldn’t imagine not having a dog. Going down the unpathed roads of life with a dog by your side can be the most nurturing experience us humans can have.

Our girl Sam came into our life when Bobby and I decided to take our relationship to the next level.  I gave up my life in New York City, to follow with whom I was undeniably smitten.  After graduating NYU Dental School, Bobby chose to serve his country for nearly six years.  Our first duty station was in North Carolina.

While shopping for our first home together, we saw a bunch of foster dogs waiting to be rescued.  And there she was, hiding behind the others, and I knew she needed us.  I picked a beaten puppy with the prettiest brindle coat and saddest of eyes.  She was the one. Opening our doors to our new furry friend was easy.  She provided so much comfort and love during the 13 years we had her.  She was there for every celebration and every fall.  I had several traumatic losses during this time, and Sam was there by my bedside. If she were able, she would have handed me tissues.

The bond my husband had with Sam was beyond special.  He adored her and took her everywhere with him. If he could have, he would have put her in his backpack when he deployed to Afghanistan. They were so in tune with one another, we used to always joke that she spoke English. We didn’t know what mix she was, all we knew is that she was a street dog. Her constant love and devotion to our family was insurmountable, making our goodbyes harder than we could have ever imagined. As a family, we learned the true meaning of companionship during our 13 years with Sam.

We have all heard there is no greater bond than that of a dog and its owner.  Sam was living proof of that.  She protected us when unwanted prowlers were lurking, and would even alert us when one of our kids opened the front door. The intuition and response levels dogs have never ceases to amaze me. It’s no wonder dogs are so instrumental in nursing homes and hospitals as animal assisted therapy.

Here Comes Mabel!

When Sam passed away, there was a void too difficult to process.  We had three children, and I was pregnant with my fourth.  We were crushed she didn’t live to ‘see’ baby Brody’s birth.  Watching our other dog Shelby grieve and long for her companion truly hurt our soul. That’s when Bobby’s friend from North Carolina starting posting his litter of pups. It was then that we decided to take the plunge, leave Sam’s dog bed right where it was, and heal our broken hearts.

We chose the pup third from the right.  She came all the way to San Diego from North Carolina. Our sweet niece took her on the plane to get her settled in her new forever home.  It was love at first sight.  Our baby Brody was only a few months old, and we wanted to get them comfortable with one another from the start. We are no strangers to introducing pets to our children and we knew to keep them as close as possible. It wasn’t a problem for me to facilitate this relationship, as I was home getting our baby settled into new routines.

Mabel’s positive impact and infectious energy shined on our family so brightly. Everyone grieves differently, and there are some who would never get another pet, so as not to ‘replace’ the one they lost. We understand that, and certainly took a little time to grieve, but those were five of the more difficult months our family has faced together, as a unit.  We knew that our hearts were ready to love another dog.  If I can be overtly honest, Mabel instantly helped us heal. Our sobering reality of not seeing Sam again was replaced with a newfound collection of dog tales, curated just the way you’d imagine – some destructive and some heartfelt.  She has opened our hearts and reminded us how to feel that kind of love again.  

The day-to-day of being a mom of four, with two dogs and a career can be hectic, daunting and leaving me to why the heck we added to the chaos with a new puppy one year ago. After seeing the trailer to A Dog’s Purpose, a new family film coming out in theaters on January 27th, I was quickly reminded why. The film is based on the beloved bestselling novel by W. Bruce Cameron, A Dog’s Purpose.  Director, Lasse Hallström (known for The Cider House Rules, Dear John, The 100-Foot Journey), shares the soulful and surprising story of one devoted dog (voiced by Josh Gad) who finds the meaning of his own existence through the lives of the humans, he teaches to laugh and love. The family film told from the dog’s perspective also stars Dennis Quaid, Peggy Lipton, Britt Robertson, K.J. Apa, Juilet Rylance, Luke Kirby, John Ortiz and Pooch Hall.  (see trailer at the bottom of this post)

 

Mabel Healed Our Hearts

I am still struck by the fervor my children have expressed with welcoming Mabel into our home.  And for baby Brody, an instant playmate from the moment they met. They are truly like siblings. They slept together during those first few months, and now display a relationship like a brother and sister would. They fight, they play, they cuddle and make up. The connection they have is so honest and innocent, and watching it as their greatest spectator, their mom,  has been such a privilege.

We are so grateful we took the plunge with Mabel, or what my husband likes to call her, Mabel-ine. There is no doubt in my mind that she causes much havoc, from eating our dining chairs, to our guests’ shoes, and every one of Brody’s toys. But, we quickly forgive her unwelcome chewing, because she has stolen our hearts.  I have learned through the years that dogs are the glue that bind our families, and Mabel has certainly found a place within our home, and our hearts.

For our family, there’s nothing else that could produce the wonderment, or sometimes heartbreak, quite like a dog (or two) could. Going through those spectrums of emotions together brings us closer as a unit, and I wouldn’t want it any other way. Experiencing all these feelings together as a family provides a depth to our relationships that those without pets may never experience. We couldn’t be more excited to see A Dog’s Purpose on January 27th. We certainly know Mabel’s purpose.

To celebrate the film release, dog lovers can upload their furry friend’s picture to the film’s mosaic and connect with pups looking for a forever home via Best Friends Animal Society! http://unvrs.al/ADPSite. You can also recreate the #ADogsPurpose movie poster using a photo of your own dog, as we did in the top image. Share using the hashtag #MyDogsPurpose, and your photo could even be featured in the film’s campaign! Use this link to get started http://unvrs.al/ADPPoster  

Tell me about your fur baby… comment below!

This Post is Sponsored by Universal Pictures’ new film A Dog’s Purpose, in theaters January 27. As always, all opinions are my own. Thank You For Sponsoring CityGirlGoneMom!


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6 comments

  1. Another great article, Danielle! We know exactly how you feel – John and I had our Rottie (Polo) for about 6 years – we had gotten him when he was about 2 and I found out a week later that I was pregnant with Erin. Not only was Polo totally devoted to John, but he ended up being Erin’s protector and playmate. She would sit on the floor in her room and read to him for hours – it was the sweetest thing! Polo ended up having to be put down when he was 9 and John was completely devastated. At first he said he would never go through it again, but eventually he realized that (and I quote) he’s “a better person with a dog”. In 2014 we “rescued a rescue” who wasn’t the right fit for his new home, and that’s how we got Chase. Again, he was an almost 2 year old Rottie when we got him, and he is so devoted to John and Erin and especially to 7 year old Sean! They are best buds! John gets home late most nights and sometimes the kids are already in bed, but Chase is always at the door wagging his little stump! 😉 Chase guards the house and is also very intuitive – we know exactly what you mean about them speaking English! There are a lot of mixed opinions about the breed, but we have found both of our Rottie’s to be such lovable, devoted and protective companions!

    1. Danielle Lucia Schaffer

      awe I love this story beth thanks so much for sharing…. I know the feeling all to well sorry about polo… so happy to hear chase helped bring smiles….

  2. What a tear jerker D!!! Great great pics as usual too. I will always miss my Queenie fur-baby. Too much to type here and I may just start sobbing again but she was the perfect mix of brains and feist- Shepard Sharpei mix. We grew up together as a young adult and she lived and loved to a ripe older age of about 15. Thanks for th reminder that she ‘might come back’ in our next pooch soon enough!!! xxxooo

    1. Danielle Lucia Schaffer

      Awe so so glad you had her mama and she left her paw prints on your heart xoxoxo

  3. I read this as my 4th rescue is sleeping, curled up on my lap, her head buried in my chest. God sent Chloe to me almost a year ago, 1/26/16. She then blessed us with 4 babies on 3/26/16. I did share 2 of those babies with friends but also kept 2. We hadn’t had a puppy in the house since I picked Molly up and brought her home after she chased my car over 15 years ago. We know Molly’s days are numbered, Her health and her body are failing. She seems ready to go. We’ve already lost 3 dogs in our 31 years of marriage and as horribly painful as all of those deaths have been we will never be without at least 2 dogs. They all hold a special place in our hearts and lives. We never had children, other than our dogs. It seems this was OUR purpose – to take in an emaciated Molly, then a wild Tucker (13 and diabetic), a severely beaten Roxy (9) and a little fluffy and pregnant Chloe. I have learned so much from each of them, laughed so much with all of them and loved them all more than I knew I could.
    I’ve watched the “a Dog’s Purpose” trailer several times since it came out and mentally went thru the list of dogs I’ve had in my life. It’s a long list. I promise it will get longer, too!

    1. Danielle Lucia Schaffer

      I love that you shared your story… Its amazing how much dogs can touch our soul. I actually don’t understand people that don’t love dogs…

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