The Day I Gave My Umbrella to My Dog: At that moment, I realized how much I love her.
Updated: 6 days ago
I carried an umbrella with me knowing there was a possibility of light rain, but I could never have expected the downpour we would soon walk into. It came out of nowhere; a loud and fierce rain. Instinctively, Millie took cover under a tree in an unknown yard and wouldn’t budge. Her body stiff, soaked, and shaking; tail tucked against her underbelly.
Without a thought, I extended my umbrella, knelt down, and held it over her wet body. She fit perfectly under its edges. Typically sensitive to sudden movements, she didn’t try to escape when I hovered it over her; it was as if she knew I was protecting her. At that moment, standing under a tree with my entire body soaked, holding an umbrella over my dog, I felt like her mom. I realized, instinctively, I cared more about her comfort than my own.
I don’t have as many of these moments as I’d like. Our bond is tenuous, fragile at best, and as ashamed as I am to admit, defined by an undercurrent of resentment. She’s difficult to connect with. She’s not one of those fun-loving, lick-your-face kind of dogs. She’s fearful and somewhat shut down, making connection fleeting but all the more special when that spark ignites. We both used our instincts to help Millie stay dry, but this encounter runs deeper than the rain. At that moment, we were in sync; we got each other. My unconditional love for her had a chance to shine.
Within minutes, we hopped into my best friend’s car. As Millie jumped in, she slipped but caught herself and exhaled a palpable sigh of relief. She panted while I carried her heavy body out of the car and into our house and waited as I ran upstairs to grab a towel. I gently massaged the towel against her body as she leaned into me, licking my face. She clung to me for the remainder of the day, following me into every room of the house and only retreating under the bed during the loudest of the thunder.
For that day, she was the dog I longed for.
Written by Elizabeth Weiner