365 Canal Street, Suite 1680, New Orleans, LA 70130 • 504-894-9653 • www.SmileyFirm.com
Well, the dog days of summer are upon us. So, rather than focus on the Louisiana heat, I’m going to use this time of year as an excuse to talk about the smallest, furriest member of the Smiley household: our beloved French bulldog, Betsey Rue. Not only is she one of the best dogs I’ve ever known, but she’s been with our family from the very beginning. When it comes down to it, Betsey really belongs to my wife, Jen. She’d just moved back to New Orleans and missed the dogs she’d grown up with. We’d just started dating, and I remember her searching out different French bulldogs online. I laughed when Jen told me she could tell how cute a puppy would grow to be by how big its ears were, but, looking at Betsey 11 years later, it’s clear my wife was right. From early on, everyone could tell Jen and Betsey were soul mates. Even as a puppy, this little dog would take after Jen’s laid-back attitude. And, when Jen got pregnant, Betsey became supremely protective of her. It’s as if some maternal bond between them flipped on. Afterward, Betsey returned to her relaxed self. To this day, Betsey is one of the most chill dogs I’ve ever seen. We can walk her without a leash, and she won’t wander off; she’s very gentle, and she won’t even eat food off the table. If it weren’t for her endless interest in chasing tennis balls, I’d question if she was even really a dog! Having been with us for over a decade, Betsey has certainly seen a lot of change. In a way, she was Jen’s and my first test at raising a Dog Days Meet Betsey Rue
Luke and Betsey Rue
child. Being responsible for a living, breathing creature certainly teaches you a lot about maturity. One year, early on, Betsey had tried to eat a Mardi Gras stuffed animal and needed surgery. Despite it being a frightening ordeal to go through, we learned an important lesson about what we leave lying around the house. As much as Betsey will always be Jen’s baby, things did change when we had, well, an actual human baby. You could tell Betsey had some adjusting to do after Jude was born, and she definitely got a little sassy as attention shifted from her. I can’t blame her. Betsey had gone from being the apple of our eye to someone on the periphery. It wasn’t her fault, but any parent knows just how demanding those first few years are — there wasn’t a ton of attention to go around. But to her credit, Betsey Rue handled the back seat incredibly well. By the time Luke came around, she’d grown comfortable with sharing the spotlight. She not only accepted
our boys into the family but she also tolerated their younger years. Babies aren’t always that considerate of animals, but Betsey never once lost her temper if one of them got a hold of her. Now that they’re old enough to appreciate her, our boys adore Betsey. If we ever go out of town and can’t bring the dog, there are tears. The affection runs both ways, too, because Betsey is protective of Jude and Luke and even sleeps in Luke’s bed most nights. This is all to say that Betsey is certainly more than just a pet. She’s part of our family of five, and an inspirational part at that. I certainly envy her patience and serene attitude. Betsey Rue has touched the lives of Jen, the boys, and myself, and we’re incredibly lucky for all the joy and love she’s given us.
Here’s to all the things our dogs can teach us.
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