On the day I woke up in hospital, I found myself staring into a mirror in my hospital bed.
It was my spaniel.
He was lying on his side, holding his collarbone.
I couldn’t look at him.
His collarbone had come off.
I could feel his heart beating against his chest.
My breath came out as a moan.
“Oh my God,” I thought, “this is it.
I’m going to die.”
I was only a week into my six-month pregnancy.
My husband was having a breakdown.
I was at my wits end.
I had just given birth to our third child, and my life was in a tailspin.
My daughter was six months old, and we were all worried about her.
She was still very young, and I was in the process of raising her.
The night before, I’d been drinking.
We’d been having a bit of a bad night, and had fallen asleep on my bed, but I woke her up with a loud snort and then my voice.
“I’ll have you know,” I said, “I have a spaniel named Spaniel.”
She started crying.
“He saved my baby from a drowning man.”
I gave her a quick hug.
She smiled back, and gave me a big hug.
Then she got up and started running down the hall towards the hospital.
I rushed after her.
I tried to comfort her, and she looked at me and smiled at me.
“Why did you do that?”
“Did I ever tell you that?”
“No, but it was so good.
And I love you.”
I smiled at her.
We ran down the hallway and down the corridor.
She ran past me, grabbed my arm, and started to run again.
I didn’t want to stop, and then I thought of her.
How could I stop her?
What could I say to her?
“I love you too,” I whispered to her.
“And thank you,” she said.
I hugged her tight.
She hugged me back, her eyes were closed, and her mouth was open.
“Thank you too, mommy,” I told her.
My tears started to flow.
I pulled her close, and kissed her.
When she closed her eyes, I told myself that this was going to be the best thing that ever happened to me.
Then, as we kissed, I asked her to tell me everything about her puppy.
She said that I should talk to him every day for a week.
I promised to listen.
I kissed her again.
She began to cry.
“It was a dream come true,” she told me.
The next morning, I got up early and went to the nursery.
“Please, come back,” I pleaded.
“My husband’s still mad,” she replied.
“Are you sure?”
I wanted to know everything that was going on.
“You have a baby,” she insisted.
I felt her tears.
I blurted out.
“Yes,” she answered.
“But she’s not a puppy,” I exclaimed.
“Nope,” she assured me.
I walked into the nursery, where my wife was busy cleaning the baby.
She grabbed my coat and walked me into the room.
“This is a very special room,” she explained.
I saw her puppy, who looked very similar to the one she had in the nursery before.
“The little one,” I muttered.
“She’s a puppy, too,” she smiled.
She brought him into the kitchen.
I sat down and began to eat breakfast.
As I ate, I started to feel like I was falling in love with my dog.
He had the same smile and the same look of happiness on his face.
I got my morning coffee.
“Morning,” I called.
“Where do you want to start?” she asked.
I started talking about everything that had happened.
She started talking, too.
“Have you ever been in pain?”
“When you get upset, you can’t control your anger, you just throw it out.
Sometimes you get really upset and start to cry and think about what you’ve done wrong.
You’re not good enough, you know?
And then you get mad at yourself and you feel like it’s your fault.”
“Sometimes you’re so angry that you throw the anger out,” she continued.
“Some days, you feel so guilty that you want nothing to do with the person who hurt you.
You don’t want anything to do.
You just want to hurt someone, and you know what?
You’re angry with yourself.”
I said something to her about how I felt bad for being angry, and what a bad person I was.
“If you’re going to do something bad, then why don’t you just stop?
I know that’s hard to hear.
But when you