Today is National Puppy Day, a day in the past that would mean as much to me as Talk Like a Pirate Day, but this year… I have a puppy and this day means something to me now. Here's our story about our super, special puppy.
A couple of months ago when Kyle and I were home by ourselves, because our teens had better things to do, we started toying with the idea of getting a dog. I had seen something that said, “When you have teenagers it’s important to have a dog so at least someone is excited to see you.” I’ve never been a huge animal lover, but my kids have always wanted a pet. Part of me wanted someone excited to see me and part of me wanted my kids to have a really good reason to stay home or come downstairs every once in a while.
Kyle and I had narrowed it down to a Shih Tzu and were going to surprise the kids. At a New Year’s Eve party my friend Jenny, who owns a kennel, and I started talking about a litter that was just born and would be ready around Valentine’s Day. Her dad, David, was at this party and again at our Super Bowl party. While Jenny and I talked about which dog in the litter would be the best one for us to get, David and I were playing cards. He was cheating and giving me a hard time, always smiling about it, laughing, being his ornery self.
I had decided on a girl puppy and wanted to name her Rozie in honor of my favorite person my grandma Mary Rozella, who was born on Valentine’s Day which is one of the reasons it is my favorite holiday. Monday after Valentine’s Day, Jenny secretly brought me the 8-week-old puppy Rozie and we surprised the kids with her. Makayla mildly freaked out, Logan picked me up and started hugging me, they were both so happy and instantly fell in love with her (Kyle and I did too).
The next day, Makayla’s best friends Derek, Aspen, and Macy came over to meet her. Rozie loved Derek and she kept licking and kissing his face. He was laughing his distinguishable laugh and that charming smile and called her Rosetta Stone. It was so funny. Kyle and I couldn’t stop laughing at those two. These teenagers were exhausted as they prepared for Shrek that week, and this little puppy seemed to really perk them up and made them temporarily forget their nerves.
Less than two weeks later, on a Sunday night, we got information that will forever haunt us. Derek had been killed in a car accident, but Aspen was okay and at the hospital. As I went to the hospital and hugged all of these amazing high schoolers and tried to be the support they desperately needed, I couldn’t cry, not that I couldn’t feel it and not that I didn’t want to as I thought about this loss to his family and friends, I just couldn’t because these kids needed me then. It wasn’t until we got home late that night that I found out that the other victim in this horrific accident was David, another heart-wrenching, devastating blow that brought me to my knees, but all I could do was crawl in bed and hope to wake up and pray it would be Sunday morning again.
The next morning, as I was in the kitchen by myself drinking coffee, I finally broke down and just cried and cried. Rozie started to whimper and begged me to pick her up. She started licking my face, licking my tears. I remembered her licking Derek’s face the same way and it made me smile. Her breath was awful of course and it almost was bad enough to stop her, but I could picture David laughing about it so I didn’t. There have been so many times in the last three weeks that Rozie has made our whole family smile, when we didn’t want to or feel like it.
My point to this long story is that Rozie, who came into our lives at the perfect time, will always be a special puppy. She will always remind me of three amazing people with her name, her kisses, and her bad breath. 😋
Tami, Jennifer, and Melissa - Rozie reminds me everyday of your favorite people. She's always good for stinky kisses, if you ever need them. ❤
— Ashlei Bockover
This page, "Story of My Life: A Tribute to Derek Brumbaugh," will be authored by the many people whose lives were touched in some way big or small by Derek Brumbaugh. It will be maintained by a student and a parent volunteer. Memories, photos, and video clips may be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org for posting here.