My Third L by Brittany Delaney


performed at Raise the Woof 2022


We met via social media

A typical 2020 relationship

I was locked in the house

Watching the paint dry on the 15th DIY

And you were the 17th storytime I read on my timeline: “How I found out my rescue was pregnant Part 1”

It was long

But I’ll summarize


They said your name was Whimper

That you cried more than any other puppy in the bunch so it seemed to be a fit

And as the 4th kid born to a bunch of 8

I could relate to it

So I scheduled to come see you but convinced myself that I would keep my options open


I googled “how do you know which puppy to pick?”

And after scanning over multiple opinion pieces I read something that hit me

It said “choose the one that chooses you”


I have never been chosen before

But I have dreamt of it so many times that I knew exactly what it would feel like

I knew intimately what it meant

Part two of the story mentioned something about you being an accident

And for the first time I actually believe it when they say that everything happens for a reason


In my home we believe that your name speaks for you so my first two L’s are Layla and Liam

Night and protector

Layla made darkness the most beautiful mosaic

A familiar place

Turned a fearless space

A star so bright it lit the walls of my voids

And Liam protected me from the places I need a shield to navigate

And we renamed you Legend

“History, story, myth”

My third L who would help me live something so beautiful the past me wouldn’t believe it could exist

We took you home

And for the first few weeks you tore up everything your little paws could kiss


First time I took you to the vet we talked about you having separation anxiety

Imagine being taken away from everything you knew

Second time we talked about how that fear manifest in your behaviors

Imagine how you show up when you are scared and don’t know what to do

I left that appointment unsure if I had bitten off more that I could chew

And then I remembered that you chose me and I chose you

And maybe we could find a few things, other than the furniture that you could chew


Like most things in the pandemic

I had no clue what was coming down the pipeline

So when lupus decided chemotherapy was next I worried what I would do and feared when I would see everyone I loved next

Separation anxiety

Imagine being taken away from everything that you knew

Fear

Imagine who you show up as when you don’t know what to do


But you had already walked that road

And done it with a leash

I was in good company

You chose me

I thought it was cute that you stayed attached to my hip until I realized you studied my behavior and knew when I would seize

You learned how to grab my medicine bag when I forgot what I was supposed to do

You laid yourself between me and my health

And no one ever had to ask you to

We do not deserve our animals

But thank God someone in the creation room still thought we could learn to


These are the ultimate teachers

They see the best in us when we struggle to see ourselves at all

They find the joy in every location

In wars

In cages

In the arms of the most broken hearted nations


We have one job

And it is simple by comparison

That is to take care of the ones that take care of us without hesitation

That means we teach it in every classroom

That means we provide access to care wherever we can

That means we bring up new generations of aspiring Veterinarians that understand our pets are the best this life has to give

We have been chosen


Legend is my family

He is my third L

The rewrite to a once tragic story

Legend teaches me patience

Teaches me grace

Teaches me to breathe when I worry

Legend holds my children when my body can’t find a way to

Legend picks up the leash and walks with me when I can’t seem to find a way though

He is family

And family is not decided by blood or even species

family is decided by our ability to love


And if having the ability to love unconditionally is the height of living on this plane

than our pets come here by choice

They have already mastered all that there is to know about this place


We are the lucky ones

In a world that often struggles to see

They are the vision

We need only to care for them the way they care for us

That…. Is the mission




Brittany Delaney is a spoken word Artist/Arts Educator born and raised in Minnesota. She has been performing on the scene for 19 years after getting her start in slam poetry. She’s facilitated poetry workshops in K-12 schools and university-based establishments across the country and worked as a curriculum consultant. She is currently serving as executive director for Black Table Arts Cooperative in Minneapolis, MN.


Learn more about Black Table Arts here: https://www.blacktablearts.com/


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