There is something about January that I hate. Actually, I'm lying. There are lots of things about January that I hate.
It's the month after Christmas and we are broke AF.
My kids go back to school after a long-ish break and we haaaate that.
Inversion. Thanks Utah.
Every January will be bittersweet for me because it marks the beginning of a beautiful journey; one that started because of diabetes, and one that would take us down one hell of an emotional road before getting to where we are now.
It's been 2 years since it happened and I get panicky every time I think about it. Seizures are terrifying in and of themselves, but, when you don't even know one is happening...well...a myriad of things could have gone wrong. She could have never come out of it. She could have had brain damage. She could have rolled off her loft bed and hurt herself badly. She could have died.
All of these things are could haves. What DID happen was she woke up, she was able to get to me somehow (still unsure how to this day), she was perfectly fine after the fact, and she had severe anxiety to the point of being afraid to fall asleep after.
I knew in that moment that it was time for us to get serious about getting her the diabetic alert dog we had fundraised for. Caroline was old enough, things had settled down (HA!), and I felt ready to take on the challenge of self training our own service dog. We have been in the best hands since day 1 and once we sent in our deposit, it really got real...real fast. I knew we would need to wait for the right puppy to come along, and I knew that KC had it all taken care of. As each litter was born and families announced during that year, my heart became more and more aware that he was on his way to us...
Porter is a Rosewood Retriever. Out of a litter of 6 puppies, he was the very last one, and the ONLY BOY. Yeah. He had me waiting until the very last moment, literally, and I kid you not, knowing his personality now, it makes complete sense. He is the goofiest derpy dog you have ever seen, with the biggest brown eyes that communicate exactly what he is thinking. He doesn't need words to tell me there's a problem...he just stares at me...like this:
Sometimes he gets sassy and looks at me like this:
You don't need to be a genius to know the words running through his mind right there. Hannah was high and he was NOT happy about it. Pretty sure, in this moment, that if looks could kill...I'd be a goner.
Porter has been the biggest blessing of 2016. He has saved Hannah's life countless times. He continues to amaze me with his love and devotion to my daughter, as she battles a shit disease 24/7 and with him at her side, I know she feels safer. He is smarter than we are 99% of the time, and he knows it. He's my squishy little Porter bear...look at him when he was teeny...can you hardly stand it!?!
LOOK AT HIS FACE Y'ALL
He is Hannah's protector and he knows it. He rarely misses an alert, and has woken me numerous times at night to let me know there's a problem that needs fixing. He is a moose sized dog that thinks he's a lap dog, and I let him climb on up. I look at him the same as one of my kids; when he's not feeling well, I worry.
Back in September he began having a lot of issues keeping food down. For 3 days he threw up every meal and we had him at the vet 2 days in a row running tests to figure out what was going on. After a barium swallow test was done, along with scans, it was determined that he has something called Megaesophagus. Basically it just means he needs a little help keeping food down, and we have to be extra super diligent about making sure he doesn't get things in his mouth that he shouldn't have, because any irritation to the esophagus can make him regurgitate and regurgitation can cause aspiration pneumonia, and AP can cause death.
Did I mention that he eats in a special doggy highchair? Go ahead...squeal out loud. I know you want to; it's fucking adorable:
We make sure and keep him safe, just like any of our children, and he is growing like a weed. He has the funniest personality and fits in with this family of lunatics. He was made for Hannah and their bond is undeniable.
He's also a dog, and with that comes lots of interesting things like fur...everywhere...and accidents in the kennel in the middle of the night...and barking...
So. Much. Barking.
As we go into this new year, I am so excited to watch him continue to grow and develop in his service dog abilities. His first birthday is February 5 and we plan on having a party with hats and cake and candles. He means the world to us and we can't wait to celebrate his life.
If you want to follow along with his and Hannah's journey, please go follow them on their Facebook page. We post a lot of the stories of his amazing alerts to there so family and friends who helped us fundraise for him can keep in touch.
Here's to a better and safer 2017 with Porter the Protector....
If you are interested in knowing more about Tattle Tail Scent Dogs, please go here.
If you are interested in knowing more about Rosewood Retrievers, please go here.