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One year ago, I was prepping for a beach trip – looking forward to Rami and my first actual vacation in forever. I was walking Stitch at nights, the heat setting in. I was trying to get a tan (because I’m always trying to get a tan) so I wouldn’t burn, and I certainly wasn’t thinking about puppies. But a year ago today, Luna was born.

Some people think dog birthdays are silly. Some celebrate them with wild parties. Today I am just thankful for this little ball of monster and fur and happiness. I didn’t know it then, but I was going to need her desperately. She’s lying on my legs while I type this, her ears poking up from behind the screen. She doesn’t know how in this one year of life she helped us through so much. It’s just another day for her. Technically just another day for us – with a few more snuggles and some peanut butter from a little 5 Euro jar of Skippy’s bought especially for her.

We took a walk through the park and she played with another Frenchie. Their tongues lolling out of their mouths in the heat even at 9 pm. We came home and she sat down in her little pool for the first time. I can’t wait to try to see if she can swim later in the summer. A birthday for a dog is just a day. For us, it marks progress. It makes us remember. Marking down memories by trips around the sun. A year ago I was getting ready for the beach, thinking my life was going in one direction and it certainly didn’t involve the little nugget that had just taken her first breath in the outskirts of Milan just days before tragedy would hit us. It’s a few weeks before I’d see her picture for the first time, and she’d stand out from the hundreds I’d looked through.

Her little face would pop up on my screen for the following months. We thought of taking off into the world looking for jobs now that we suddenly weren’t tied down with a dog anymore. But we’d find ourselves looking at rescues, at shelters, at breeders, again and again. Luna would still be there every so often, her ears as big as elephants.

Rami picked me up at the Milan airport as I flew in from Boston in September of last year. We drove out to a little suburb city and drove back with Luna, enormous tongue hanging out of her tiny mouth, happy as a clam immediately, and we brought her home. Since then every day has been special with her, but today is her birthday, so it’s a great excuse for just a bit of extra attention and a few more treats.



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