I’m old and worn out. I’m the color of asphalt. I rarely smile and when I do I look silly.
I lack confidence. Why would anyone like me? I’m not an extrovert like Ash. I’m not pretty like Tess. I’m not cute and vulnerable like Nellie.
I have no sense of adventure. I have sad eyes that follow mom wherever she goes. I lie outside her computer room and guard her. I cannot stand to be separated from her. If she leaves without me I howl for a very long time.
Despite my flaws I am loved. How can that be? How does love transcend my shortcomings?
Mom knows I lack confidence. She tries to make me feel special. Yesterday she took me with her when she went to see Shane. Mom has known Shane for a long time. He helped her rehab her shoulder after she had surgery. Now they are pals.
Shane likes me. He invited me to come to his office while he worked on mom. Mom brought my travel bed and I lay down outside the door so I could watch. Nobody could come or go without me noticing.
Shane said I was really good. I was very quiet and did not intrude. When it was time to go I jumped up and ran to the door.
I am the only one who gets to visit Shane. Ash would be too busy. Tess would want to be the center of attention. Nellie would get confused.
Mom asked me to think about that. “Jack, what you see as shortcomings are also your strengths. We love you for who you are,” she said.
I pretended it was no big deal. No big deal to visit Shane. No big deal to be loved for the dog I am. Silly me. A tear slipped down my snout and I looked away. Mom gently wiped the tear off with her thumb and kissed me. I was over the moon. I am loved.