We just got home from a week-long trip to Nebraska and while I have many highlights and stories to share I wanted take a minute to first address one particular event before I sort my thoughts on the rest of the weekend. It was Sunday night after the trial, the car was packed to come home complete with dogs and it was a cool evening so I made the choice to leave them crated in their familiar car rather than bring them back to the hotel and crate the in a strange place. Everyone was quiet and tired from a long day so I rolled down the windows a little and left them sleeping peacefully. A little while later as we were ordering dinner I lifted my head in reflex to visually confirm my car was still there and nothing looked amiss. I could see nothing. Literally nothing beyond the window of the restaurant for the rain that was sheeting down from the sky. I then heard the siren, the signal that a questionable storm was on it's way. Not thinking much beyond needing to see my dogs and rolling up the windows of my car which I was sure would be flooded at this point I ran out the door and was soaked instantly. When I got to the car, a mere 15 feet from the door, the dogs were howling, Sadie was hiding under some gear in the back and everyone was generally uneasy. I started the car, rolled up the windows, and turned on the radio to damper the sounds of the insistent siren. I then let my dogs loose and they instantly piled on my lap. A few soft kisses, a wary look or two outside, and they fell asleep content, feeling nothing but secure and completely safe now that "mommy" was here. It was one of those moments in life that really made me realize the bond that is shared between us. My dogs and I have always been close and have shared an eerie kinship that not many people can understand but in that moment it was made clear to me just how deep that bond goes. When I sat down in that car and they heard my voice the whole atmosphere changed. They went from stressed and scared to relaxed and secure, in an instant they believed with every fiber of their being that when I am present nothing bad could ever happen to them. I sat there with them for twenty minutes as 80mph winds rocked the vehicle. I watched the sky for signs of a funnel cloud and prepared myself for a potential mad-dash to the restaurant door with 5 dogs in tow. Thankfully the sky cleared and all went back to as it was withing the span of a half hour but the whole experience for me was deeply moving. It once again served to reminded me of the awesome responsibility we assume when we accept guardianship of an animal, and that true love is a matter of trust, a trust that is beyond merely taking a leap of faith, or doing something despite initial hesitation. Trust in a deeper, purified sense. A trust that does not waiver, or question, but truly believes that no matter the circumstance and no matter the cause that which you value most deeply will be protected and endure. This is the kind of trust we, regrettably, find so rarely in our human world. It is a trust that must be earned through our actions and fortified over time through reliability and dependence. It requires a benefactor free of misgiving and a recipient who will recognize and respect that which has been bestowed upon them. While I know beyond question that I am a better person for having my dogs it is nice to once and a while be reminded that their lives are better for having me as well.