This is a picture from last summer of Darcy and Alex.
I was fortunate to find a connection with an animal at a young age. Her name was Kate. She was a black lab that knew signals. Family friends came to visit and brought Kate along. I stayed with her all weekend. It was a blast seeing her swim and throwing the ball to play fetch. I was amazed that any dog could learn to understand sign language.
I became obsessed with black labrador retrievers. When Webkinz was a really popular thing, I had a black lab Webkinz. It did not take very long for my parents to get the hint that I SO much wanted a black lab.
I remember the trip down to Mississippi to get Darcy, my new black lab and best friend. A neighbor and my family went down to both get dogs. Darcy is named after her mother. Darcy means “black one” as she is a black lab.
Darcy used to run with me, swim around me while I was in a kayak, and herd all of us kids - making sure we were all okay. When my sister used to tug her tail, she just laid there and smiled.
I will never forget the time in the mornings at 4:30 am in high school. She would be so happy when my Dad and I put our running shoes on and the leash because she loved to run with us.
She is part of our family. Even with her old age, she still remembers signs. She is such a gentle, genuine soul.
When we decided last summer that it would be best for Josh to go to Nashville for an internship, I begged for a black lab to keep me company. We landed in Nashville from a mission trip to Jamaica and then went straight down to meet Alex in Mississippi. Alex is from the same place Darcy came from - they are cousins.
Fun Fact: Alex is named after Alexander Hamiton because Josh is OBSESSED with Hamilton the Musical and the soundtrack. Since she is a girl though, Josh says her full name is Alexandria.
Alex is such a joy in our family and still very much a puppy - she LOVES to chew! She is very smart and knows sign better than spoken English. She loves the water - she begs to play in the bathtub and lake. She loves to come up to you when you have had a bad day and lick your whole face to make you feel better. She has such a sweet personality, much like Darcy.
Reasons why dogs are your best friends:
Dogs are special animals - they can be emotional and mental support. They always love you.
Dogs help health and fitness which can help self-improvement and mental/emotional health.
When I come home from work, I normally go get Alex from her crate and hear her tail wag - “thump thump” - as I walk up. Whatever your workday has been - bad or good - dogs usually are so happy to see you no matter what.
They become part of your family. They are great company. You are their whole world.
There are different types of service animals including diabetes, seizures, guide, etc, that help so many people.
Dogs also are a responsibility. They are good for people with disabilities and students to learn how to take care of another - feed it, walk it, and play with it.
Dogs can also keep you safe.
Please comment with your dog’s name and picture!