Turning 24.

Your birthday. It is perhaps the one day you might feel a little extra special. It can be any day for anyone.  It could be January 3rd. It could be August 20th. It could even be July 4th.

Which ever day yours falls on, that date has a special ring to it. When I say, “April sixth”, it rolls of the tongue and sounds so perfect.

Yes, my birthday just happened to be yesterday. And, I’m only writing about it because it sort of stood out from all my other birthdays.

The day began with my dog, Sophie, jumping up and greeting me on my bed.  I tried to roll over and get back to sleep. Nope, she wasn’t having it. She licked me like a tootsie pop until I rose and got ready for her WALK. Don’t ever say, “Are you ready to GO FOR…” unless you’re ready to take her to wherever you’re going. She’s a collie/terrier mix, so she’s a bundle of energy.

The air was fresh and the breeze made the walk comfortable. It felt better. Sophie was trotting along, wanting to find the perfect spot to mark her territory.  She stopped, squatted and did her business. We went along for a more minutes and returned home.

I them got ready for my birthday breakfast with my father, his wife, and my two aunts.  I had decided on a nice cafe chain, known for it’s huge portions and grand tasting food.

As I opened the car door, with my father driving, I was treated to a purposefully off-key version of ‘Happy Birthday.’ It made me smile because it was refreshing and unique.

At breakfast,  conversation centered around my life and how things were going. Things had been a tad rough, but I made sure to emphasize the positives.

Of course, as most people will tell you, my phone kept vibrating. FACEBOOK is linked with my phone. And you know, your birthday is front and center there. The friends that see it take a few moments to send you a little wish. It makes you feel good.

I returned home then, as I wanted to be with Sophie, because she’s not used to being alone. She came running to greet me, as she always does after I’ve been gone. She jumped up and gave me a lick. I know it’s a ‘bad habit’, but I see it as affection and don’t mind it.

Only after being home a few short minutes, I got a call from a friend I haven’t seen in awhile. He was on my side of town and wanted to sop by. He said he was buying a bow and arrow. I asked him why, and he said he just felt like it was a good idea. “I’ll be there, soon,” he said.

We had a great conversation. How our lives were, our goals, and how we’d hang out next. Sophie was quite rude, jumping up over and over. My friend was clearly bothered by it, mainly because it was a  constant distraction. Finally, I gave her a treat and put her outside. I saw her race to the doggie door that enters our laundry room. I blocked it just in time.

My friend and I laughed as we heard a BUMP a few minutes later. You had to have been there.  Time flew by and my friend had to get going. We said goodbye and Sophie, bless her heart, followed him to the driver’s side, hoping to go for a ride.

My mother took me to dinner a few hours later. We went to OLIVE GARDEN. My phone was still buzzing. Dinner was delicious and we had dessert, which we rarely do while eating out. The waiter didn’t sing to me, but my mother did. Of course it was the ‘very quiet, fast’ version. But still made me smile.

After dinner, my mother and I took a drive around town, just for the fun of it. It was different and was enjoyable. We went to a part of town we don’t go too often. As the sun began to set, the town became mysterious and I got that odd ‘life reflection’ feeling. My day, my birthday, had been enjoyable. Not that it hasn’t been, but I had worried this birthday wouldn’t be anything special.

We returned home late. As we got out of the car, there was an envelope on the drive way with my name on it.  An  anonymous letter? I was very curious about this one. Clearly, it was a birthday card and I wondered who would just leave something like that on my driveway. I had a clear idea who it was from. My mind erupted with possibilities, but I was wrong. Just from one of my aunts who missed us when we were out. It was a Charlie brown card.  Charlie brown… if you only knew.

So, the day was done. Mom and I sat down to watch some TV, as Sophie laid at my feet, ready for bed. The day had been great and I was happy. I thanked my mother for the nice dinner and gift and she smiled at me.

Suddenly, Sophie sits up and begins to gag. I gasped and leaned forward.  Sophie then begins to CHOKE. My mother, a nurse, leaps up and pounds on Sophie’s chest.  I think, “Well… here we go… my dog is going to die on an otherwise wonderful day.”

Things get a little heated as my mother and I got emotional and not sure what to do. I race to the refrigerator, where we have an ANIMAL EMERGENCY card. But it’s gone. My mother had moved magnets and such a few days before.

I scream, “CALL 911! CALL 911!” My mother bolts for her car keys and I get Sophie on her leash and we run to the car.

As we load Sophie in, my phone rings. A friend I haven’t seen for a few weeks is calling. I think for a moment and ignore his call. My dog is dying right now.

As my mother speeds down the street, I use her phone to search for animal emergency clinics. I find one. We punch it in to the navigation and speed down the free way.

Sophie is in the back, trying to cough whatever is in her throat. I watch her, and I start to tear up. She can’t die. She’s only two… and it’s my birthday. This can’t happen now. I say a prayer and think of my aunt Bobbie, who was an animal lover while alive. I imagine her sending some sort of help from heaven.  She is surely with God right now trying to intervene.

The clinic is still five minutes away, and Sophie is now puffing through her nose. “Keep breathing, baby,” I say. She looks at me with her brown eyes and turns away and lays down.

We reach the clinic and get Sophie out of the car and into the building. And now, she’s fine.

Totally fine.

She is breathing fast because she’s nervous. But, we have the doctor check her out anyway. Sophie wanders around the small room, smelling every little thing and trying to figure out why we are here.

Sophie gets a clean check up.  We’re sent home with the advice to just watch her for a few days.  And, to walk her with a harness so her throat isn’t constricted.

As I go to bed that night, I realize a few days before I had prayed that my birthday  was filled with happiness and excitement. I don’t know about God causing an animal to choke— but I sure realized the value of my dog and I sure had a day full of emotion.

Wow.

How was your birthday?

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