I think my love of dogs came before I was ever born. My mom and dad were shopping Canton, a big flea market in Dallas, when my mom was pregnant with me. The story goes that my dad had been reading a book that had a woman in it named Permella. He wanted to name me Permella. Lucky for me my parents stumbled across a litter of puppies at the flea market, precious little catahoula mixes. I'm sure the last thing my young, about to have a baby, parents needed was a puppy but thank God they didn't think about that because the puppy saved me from a life of being called Permie or Nella or Nellie or something dreadful like that. But for this dog who I later referred to as my sister, Permella was the perfect name.
I grew up with this dog as a constant in my life. She was there when my parents divorced. She was there when we moved to a new town and I didn't have any friends. She was there when my grandmother died. For 10 years it was just me, my mom, and Permella. She died when I was 13 years old. Here I am, 26 years later and it is still dreadfully painful. Pets have never been "just" a dog or "just" a cat for me. But Permella was even more. She was there through my childhood, through very emotional times of my early life. I told her my secrets. When I look back I guess she was the beginning of so much of what my life has become. I know what the love of a dog can bring to your life. I know how they can enrich you. I am sure that Permella had everything to do with making me want to save dogs now. I hope I can give back just an ounce of what she gave to me.
I love you sweet girl. And I still miss you.