It’s been almost a year to the day that a tiny four pound ball of fur entered our lives.

I say ball of fur because I’m hesitant to refer to him as a dog just in case he’s reading this over my shoulder.  Because the thing is (just between us)….

….he thinks he’s human.

When we read, he reads.

When we walk, he walks.

When we laugh, he grins.

When we watch the Real Housewives of New York City and think how cute Bethany’s new hairstyle is, he agrees.

And when we have a dance party to Uptown Funk….

…he applauds from the sidelines.

So to celebrate his anniversary, I’m re-sharing a story about love.

And a little dog called Bonzai.


Five months seven days and twelve hours ago I signed all four kids up for camp.

All four chicks leaving the nest for an entire week.

At the time I thought I was brilliant.

A week of lazy days spent lounging and twirling my hair and eating bon bons and reading War and Peace?

A week of date nights and witty conversation and dancing the night away?

The future was so bright I needed shades.

laundry room and Yorkie

Except my brilliant idea seemed to dim as camp got closer and closer and closer.

What was I thinking?

I went from “all four chicks leaving the nest” that ended with extra exclamation points.

To ending that same sentence with a question mark.

I distracted myself by getting everyone ready.  We shopped for snacks and washed towels and sheets and bought sunscreen and packed and searched for sunglasses and googled the six-hour distance to see how long the trip was actually going to take.

And then the day finally arrived.

We arrived at the church ready and packed with a car loaded down with four suitcases and enough groceries to feed the entire western half of Kentucky…..

….and our newest member of the family.

He came along to see what all the commotion was about.

the cutest yorkie on the planet

There were hugs and smiles and some more hugs and a whole bunch of “I’ll miss yous” and “don’t forget to wear sunscreen” and “take care of your sisters.”

And too quickly it was time to go.  I stood there silently, waving frantically with a big smile plastered onto my face as the bus pulled out of the parking lot.

Then I walked to my car, sat down in the front seat and promptly burst into tears.

Not a few tears.

Not the kind of pretty crying that you see in the movies.

Hugh, sobbing gulps from the very center of my self.  And hiccuping.  There was lots and lots and lots of hiccuping with the occasional bit of odd stuff running out of my nose.

Good times.

a book and a friend

And as I sat there with my head in my hands on the steering wheel tears dripping onto my yoga pants….

….I felt something on my arm.

It was a paw.

A tiny, furry little paw that patted me.

Again and again and again.

As if to reassure me that a week was such a short time.

And I hadn’t really ever read War and Peace before.

And I had a new outfit for date night and a brand new red lipstick.

And that if I blinked….

….all the chicks would be home again.

He was right.  Wonderfully, gloriously right.

And the funny thing?  I thought we were the ones who rescued him.

But somewhere along the way….

…..he rescued us right back. 🙂

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  1. Image for Brit Brit

    What a beautiful story! We have three such fur balls. Each with their own unique story. From the one found under a barn after a tornado to the one I delivered C-section at work and got to puff in her first breath, to the one dumped at the animal clinic where I work just because she DNA tested to be a chow. They all leave such huge paw prints on our hearts. I can only hope we give them the same joy and comfort we bring to them. Thanks for the kind of post that makes me look over and smile in spite of the bone that is being shredded in the sunny spot of the screen door.

  2. Image for Debbie Debbie

    That happens so often. We think we are helping, rescuing or giving to others and we are the ones who gain so much. Our fur babies are so wonderful and so special. I lost mine 4 years ago and still haven't recovered. I keep telling myself that I should adopt another , but so far I haven't been able to do it. Thanks so much for sharing your world with me. I truly think of you as a dear friend.

  3. Image for Virginia Luyster Virginia Luyster

    When I dropped my baby girl off for her first summer away I cried the same way! And she was 20 years old!!! Be strong, time flies and they will be home again.

  4. Image for lori lori

    Think a week of camp is bad? Or a two week mission trip? Oh KariAnne, just you wait. I am a terrible empty nester. Both my kids have great careers. My daughter have been gone for a decade, ugh. My son just finished is BS in Nursing and is a critical care nurse, just bought a beautiful home and moved out a month ago. I cannot get my feet under me and get a handle on this empty nest. Thank goodness I have two dogs!

  5. Image for Cynthia Roush Cynthia Roush

    Wonderfully written story. We have a little rescue dog named Sawyer. Although he doesn't replace our grown kids who have left home permanently and are both doing great I might add, Sawyer certainly has added a new dimension to our lives. My husband has a sailboat which we fondly refer to as the other woman and now he has a First Mate named Sawyer.

  6. Image for Christopher Christopher

    Nothing beats the love of a dog in my opinion. Always unconditional! Take care and have a relaxing week friend.

  7. Image for Leslie Watkins Leslie Watkins

    Love that sweet little dog...I think that may be his purpose in pat you on the arm and encourage you from your lap through celebrations and tears. Way to go, Bonzai!! Welcome home.

  8. Image for Lisa Lisa

    Dogs are just so intuitive! A few times I've had myself a good cry and my beagle, George, will come from another floor of the house to sit by me. Even if I'm not making a sound, he comes. I think he can actually smell my tears! I loved your story! Hope you have a great long weekend and Happy Memorial Day!

  9. Image for Toni Toni

    I had a similar experience as a teenager. I had a new baby foal die in my arms. I was so hearbroken and later when sitting on the stairs outside our home, I was in tears. Our collie dog, Shep, promptly came over and sat beside me and began licking my face as if to try to reassure me. Sadly, years later when we had say goodbye to our beloved Shep, there was no one lick my tears. Dogs have to be one of God's most amazing creaures.

  10. Image for melinda melinda

    awe...this is so sweet! I know the feeling of letting the kids go off somewhere:*( been there ....;yes and our dogs are such babies with fur on them.

  11. Image for sydney85 sydney85

    Lovely story. Your Bonzai sounds just like out little Bailey. He never thought of himself as a dog and he was always such a comfort and joy to us.

  12. Image for Loryl Fisher Loryl Fisher

    Beautiful story! I'm writing this as our "grand dog" lays near by. When my son moved out 4 years ago he took the dog with him. I cried for 2 weeks. FOR THE DOG! Now he says with us when my son is out of town or working 10 hour days. Pure joy.

  13. Image for Leona Leona

    Sweet story...he is so fortunate to be with you. His loves unconditional and what may seem forever. We have lost two love pets within 4 months of each other. And how we tried to save them with pills, vet visits , and everything in between. They were our babies....they needed us to take care of them. Your kids will be back from camp in a blink......and hat is how fast life goes when you look back. You will feel the same way when college comes calling. In the mean time, love life, your kids, your hubby, Bonzai, and yourself.

  14. Image for Nancy @Slightly Coastal Nancy @Slightly Coastal

    So sweet! Furry humans are the best. I too look forward to time alone with my husband but we usually end up returning home early because we miss the kids. It just goes to ahiw you've built love right into your family.

  15. Image for Classy Glam Living Classy Glam Living

    Such a sweet sweet story! We're lucky to have such loyal furballs in times of need. Ours is a senior who sleeps all day, but would make sure she comes by to give us a butt-nudge and reminds us she needs a big rub =) Can't love her more!

  16. Image for Angie M Angie M

    Awe! What a sweet story! Dogs are amazing!!! I have an 8 year old boxer mix and a 8 week old Sheltie and I wouldn't trade them for the world.

  17. Image for Joyce Mullikin Joyce Mullikin

    They quickly become as dear to your heart as all the other family members. Last May I lost my 14 year old Yorkie & there are times I still cry from the grief. I've heard people say "oh, it's just a dog." First they make me angry but then I almost feel sorry for them. They've never experienced the love & joy we have from & for our doggie babies.

  18. Image for Kimberly Marie Kimberly Marie

    What a heartwarming story, you write so beautifully. Nine years ago I dropped my eldest son off at college in Florida, we live in NY. I believe I sat in the parking lot sobbing for 20 minutes before I could even get on the freeway to the airport. The poor woman who had to sit next to me on the plane ride home! Thank goodness for our beautiful black lab, Clancy. She was so nurturing when I arrived home. Now, that wonderful son will be married in 3 weeks--I can feel the tears already! This time my little rescue dog, Scottie, will have to comfort me!

  19. Image for Cindy in Oklahoma Cindy in Oklahoma

    Such a sweet sweet story....Sometimes I think our pets are really angels.. we just don't realize it! Our aussiedoodle almost always puts his paw on my arm when I start petting him like he's saying thank you or I love you, too... it's so disarming (no pun intended)... I mean, where did they learn how to comfort us? It's just amazing to me....

  20. Image for Stacey Keeling Stacey Keeling

    Oh, I just can not tell you how much I love this. I'd like to read it to my husband right now but I would cry. I remember doing the exact same thing! Our kids are in their 20s now and one is coming home tonight. I can hardly hold it together today because I'm so excited!

  21. Image for gail gail

    awwww what a sweet story. They really do become family, don't they? I had to say goodbye to my sweet Louie 15 months ago, and still have a huge hole in my heart. BUT, I'm saying yes to a new friend-next month Lulu Mae will join my little family and I can't wait to have that connection again. Hoping the chicks are having a great time, and that mom is handling it okay. (and maybe reading a little) gail

  22. Image for Joy Joy

    Such a sweet loving story.. I remember the days. I too had a sweet little doggy soul like that.. he was such a love. They help us when I hearts ache. I always say who rescued who? What a cutie pie you have.

  23. Image for Dale D. Dale D.

    Oh how we love our fur babies. Our pug will be with us for a year in another month but saw on some old vet bills that were given to us that her birthday is tomorrow. My granddaughter and I bought birthday hats and treats and are planning a celebration with family for her 8th birthday. Been with us for a short time and yet can't imagine her not being there, my little shadow. Always a sympathetic ear and never needs a reason to cuddle. Thanks for the shared stories.

  24. Image for Claudia A. Claudia A.

    Love those babies and love that fur baby. Nothing lasts forever...missing my boy, Dr. Winston O'Boogie "Boogie".

  25. Image for Suzann Suzann

    I'm typing thru tears. What a beautiful, precious little fur ball! My Austrauan Shephard died 3 yrs ago, so I went to the pound to adopt another dog for our black lab that was grieving terribly; as was I. I came home with a beagle named Jaxson someone 'dumped' on Jackson St in Cookeville. Our grandson was born with MECP2 (his DNA duplicated itself), a rare genetic disorder. Jaxson the beagle loves that little boy dearly! He'll let Lane hold his ears or pull them or whatever, it's like Jaxson 'knows' Lane is special. God picked a perfect dog for me to adopted!

  26. Image for Susan Susan

    Our furbabies are so tuned into our feelings...they hate to see us sad and will do whatever they can to make us smile again...because when we are happy, they are happy. I'm sooooo glad that Bonzai came into your life at a time you really needed him...he did not disappoint! He is such a little cutie-patootie! I sure miss my boy. Please give Bonzai a big hug and kiss for me, k?

  27. Image for Marisa Franca @ All Our Way Marisa Franca @ All Our Way

    Yes indeed, our little family members sense our moods and they do try to help. Whether it's a little pat or a swipe of the tongue but they do communicate to us. I bet he got lots of loving all week long and then when the Thistles came home he got more loving. Have a wonderful Memorial Day Weekend!!

  28. Image for Jeanne Jeanne these animals. I miss our dog. The cat is still with us and is a royal pain but I love her too. But oh that dog...when we had babies in the house she would sit patiently by the changing table and wait to take the dirty diaper to the trash - she was so proud. Oh these animals. What a lovely story, Karianne.

  29. Image for Mary Mary

    Oh my gosh... You have a way of making a little story bring tears to my day.. That's not a bad thing, but rather a heartfelt tug to remind us what is so important in our lives. When I lost my Murray at the age of 13 I didn't think I could go on with my life. I got in trouble where I worked and was told to "snap out of it"... 8 months later a co-worker found a little bitty girl doggie looking for food near a restaurant. Could I take her?? No Way would I go thru that trauma again. Well, Miss Maddie Rose has been with me now for about 8 years. She's the love of my life, and is the spitting image of my Murray... So... I belive God gave my Murray back just in a slightly different package. LOVE your story. Kudo's to Bonzai - another gift from God!

  30. Image for Mary W Ferguson Mary W Ferguson

    Such a beautiful story and I have tears as I am typing this reply. They are the very best , always happy to see you and give unconditional love. Thanks for sharing this beautiful story. Mary

  31. Image for Peggy Peggy

    WOW! We have a "granddog" that we keep on weekends when our grandson is doing his bull throwing in JRA. What a joy. I have always said "Oliver has a human heart" he is the most precious little bounce of energy, loving, social treasure ever. (lest I brag)

  32. Image for Cat Cat

    There are SO many adorable wee Yorkies being churned out by puppy mills and sold through pet stores, markets, etc: the numbers are staggering, and their living conditions are beyond appalling. You did such a good thing, Kari-Anne, giving this little soul a good life; you and your delightful family.

  33. Image for Julie Julie

    Our oldest two boys are away at their first weekend camp. They left yesterday and we are driving up to visit them today. I know, I know. So, I can relate to the tears and the little bits of letting them fly... and how fast the time does go by! :) What a sweet pup to comfort you! Love this story and as always, your fabulous story telling. Thanks for the smile! ~julie

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