While I am all about the deals and sales and fashion – I am a mama first and foremost. And before I was a mama to Mackenzie and Marshall, I was a dog mama to Guinness and Bailey. They were my whole world before I had kids. I used to plan things around my dogs and whether or not I could take them places.  If you are a “dog person” you understand this.

In July 2012, I met a boy at a bar.  This boy had a dog named Sam. About a month after dating, we introduced Guinness and Bailey to Sam and I remember thinking that this whole moment would move our relationship forward or end it. They ended up tolerating one another well.  In fact, I was surprised at how well they got along.  Sam, Guinness and Bailey became our three “kids”. They each had their own personalities.  Sam was a rescue pup and was a mix of who-knows-what.  He was a barker. He ate everything that was within his reach – even if it wasn’t supposed to be edible. He adored Bryan. They had been through a lot together.  Best buds. Guinness was convinced he was human and the alpha-male of our household.  He was a handsome dog – born a full-blooded Yorkie and groomed to look like a Schnauzer.  He was a terrible beggar and a charmer, too.  Popcorn is his favorite snack. Bailey is the one everyone wants to take home.  She’s cute, fluffy, and white. She also acts homeless which in turn gets her affection and love from every person who enters our home. She loves pasta.

And then we had a surprise blessing join our home and her name was Mackenzie Grace Starbuck.  She took precedence over all the pups, because I carried her in my body for 41 weeks and 1 day.  When we brought her home, the dogs were somewhat indifferent and curious.  They carried on as normal, but because we were new parents and she was colicky, all of their personality traits became an annoyance.  Every time the doorbell rang, the dogs would bark and wake her up.  It never failed.  The dogs would run over her on the floor causing her to scream inconsolably.  I found myself hating them when I never even though that was possible.  But even when I hated them, I never thought of our life without them. IMG_4771

And then as a toddler, it was a whole new level of annoying. Sam, especially, would sneak bites of her snacks daily causing her to howl with frustration.  They would make just as many messes as she did.  I felt like if I wasn’t cleaning up after my toddler, I was cleaning up after the dogs.

Enter Marshall James Starbuck. Second baby – we didn’t worry so much about.  He loved the dogs as soon as he was able to actually see them. To this day, he shares his Oreos and chips with them like they are friends.  The dogs prefer Marshall very much. IMG_1784

We’ve been a family of two kids and three dogs for two years now and we are very much in our groove. About a year ago, Sam (who is our oldest pup at almost 13) started having unexplained seizures and nerve damage causing him to be unable to walk.  We knew that he was ill and started preparing ourselves for the loss.  And then miraculously he improved significantly with antibiotics and we went on happy to have him still with us.

In April he had another bout of illness, but again – improved. Sam seemed to be such a fighter.  Until two weeks ago when it was apparent he was losing his battle.

It’s such an odd emotion.

I adopted Sam six years ago.  Bryan had adopted him from a rescue about five years before. We were his parents and caretakers. We loved him and all of his quirks. He loved sleeping under the covers with us, at the foot of our bed. We called him our “foot-warmer.” He literally ate everything. Crayons, play-doh, dirty diapers, poop, you name it – he ate it. A few years ago he got out and was lost for almost 5 days before we posted flyers around the neighborhood and someone called us saying that he had crossed a major road and roamed into their yard. He photobombed every single picture we took of the kids.  He stole the kids’ snacks right out of their hand on the regular.  He was often found rummaging through the grocery bags trying to eat something out of them. He barked if he heard a large truck drive past the house.  He loved his belly rubbed. 5CC5BBF4-2517-4DC4-A87B-7EB443580A40

Today, we laid our pup to rest.  He had been suffering and within an hour of us arriving at the vet, he was no longer in any pain.  Bryan and I held hands and loved on him the whole time. It was such a bittersweet moment.  You didn’t want him to suffer anymore, but you weren’t quite ready to say good-bye.

Losing someone you love is always difficult.  The loss can never be easily explained to someone else. It is a pain deep within you that aches – numbly at first and at times more intensely.  He was a dear part of our little family for many years and he will be missed.

Thank you all for the love and thoughts and prayers…..we love all of you.


xoxo, Brandi’ & Bryan


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