You are either a dog person, or you are not.  I was born into a family who has always had a love for these four legged creatures.  I was two months old when my parents brought Murphy, a golden retriever, into our family. Since Murphy, we have had 4 golden's-  2 at a time since I was seven.  Murphy, Jake, Tucky, Gradie and now Brody.

I, being who I am, threw a wrench into the mix...

My best friends from college- who all live a fair distance from where I happened to be living at the time- decided to drive to a town less than 20 minutes away from me, to look at some Labrador retrievers.  They were willing to drive such a distance because Jess and Aaron were absolutely decided upon getting a Red Fox Lab.  I went to meet them, just so that I could be with them, never expecting to fall in love.

She was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen.  She was a cinnamon red ball of fluff and the best part was that she is what people in the dog world call a "Dudley".  She had no pigmentation on her skin.  She was just pink, everywhere.  Her nose, around her eyes- which happened to be green.  She was, without a doubt, the most beautiful thing I had every seen.

And then this miraculous thing happened.  As Greg was snuggling this yellow ball of fluff and Jess and Aaron were giggling with their red lab... the beautiful Dudley dog came streaking out from under the woodstove, sat on my foot and looked up at me, with those big green eyes with a look that said "Hello.  You are my person" and I was lost.

I named her Ronan.  As we are hockey people, with Greg naming his boy Luc (Luc Robitaille) and Jess and Aaron naming their boy Niko (Niko Dimitrakos), Ronan (after a former UMaine Player- John Ronan) was the perfect fit.

She was the best thing.  She and my niece, Lily, became the best buddies.  Lil was forever getting into her crate, and Ronan loved it. Even my sister and her husband enjoyed my silly girl.

We decided that it was best if she lived with my parents.  My father fell in love with her, and really, she was as much his girl as she was mine.  My father is disabled from a terrible accident at work, so he was able to be home with her all day- which was just something I could not afford to do. My mother was not immune to her charm either.  There were many a day when Mom or Dad would call me with a story about some silly thing my stupid (said with so much love) dog had done.

And she was massive.  Stretched out beside me from front paws to back paws, she was as long as I am tall (5'5) and she weighed 95-105lbs any given week.  She was my big, beautiful, fur baby.

On the morning of February 13, 2013, Ronan, being the stubborn, loving dog that she was, went to greet my father.  She didn't stop when my mother called her to come back to the porch.  She ran into the road and was hit and killed by a tractor trailer truck.  It was, without question, one of the hardest days of my life.  It took my sister telling me how her four year old tried to comes to terms with losing her friend to be able to start coming to terms with it myself.

Five months later, its still not easy.  As I sit here, I let the tears fall freely.  There hasn't been a day that I haven't thought about her and how much I miss her.  Lily will ask me a question about her and either Sis or I will have to talk to her about how Ronan is in Heaven playing fetch, which was her favorite pastime (with maybe the exception of playing tug of war with Brody's tail, chasing squirrels or talking to who ever would listen) with a little girl who hadn't been so lucky to have such a special friend here on earth.

She was special.

I have asked my parents a couple of times to get a puppy.  Brody is so lonely and it breaks my heart.  The house is quiet with only 1 big dog.  But they haven't been ready.  Ronan was their girl.  And while I am 30 and was her Mom, my parent's sheltered me from the aftermath as best as they could, because they are amazing people.  The grief was too much and as my Dad said he just couldn't "go through that again".

I got a text from my Mom on Monday.  It was bittersweet, but wonderful news.  They have decided to get a Golden Retriever puppy. They were tossing names around and he started out as a Caesar, but my father has decided to let Lil name him.  Instead of "Poop", which I had feared, she has decided he shall be called Brewster".

And while Brewster will never replace Ronan, the idea of another small fur baby to love lifts my heart.

I can't wait to meet him.