“I want you to chase that lion.”
“No way,” says the dog.
“Count me in!” says the Ridgeback.
“Just the one?” says Penny Mayhem.
That, in essence, is the spirit of my spitfire. What qualifies as insanity for most is banality for Penny. Utter the phrase, “No dog is crazy enough to…” and Penny will do it twice, just to make sure you know the first time wasn’t a mistake.
This past Sunday we celebrated our wild spirit’s third birthday.
The normal impulse on such an occasion is to remark, “Wow, Penny is already
three!?” Instead I kept rechecking the math, thinking, “Wait, Penny is only
If you’ve ever experienced a hurricane or an earthquake, you know that such forces of nature bend space and
time. The intensity of the experience demands your full effort and attention. You are so profoundly engaged with each present moment that not a single one passes unnoticed.
Time may be relentless, but it certainly slows for tempests and tornados. So too does it yield to their brethren, Penny Mayhem.
Penny celebrated her birthday exactly how I always imagined she would – racing across the sand with her brother and my brother’s dog. Except In my imagination it had been Eko and Dutch, not Zero and Doc. I momentarily mused on that thought before Penny unceremoniously led a charge past my feet, forcing me to jump out of the way.
A flood of memories held at bay by a flood of dogs. This is Penny’s gift. She does not negotiate with the terrors of past and future which attempt to hold the present moment hostage.
No time was that gift more appreciated than this past year after losing Eko. Because I gave up on the present. I threw in the towel on today. I quit participating in any moment which did not involve Eko.
But Penny woke me each morning with an insistent poke to the face which said, “You seem to suffer under the delusion that I allow you to quit.” She was as lost without Eko as I was, but Penny’s indomitable spirit carried us both.
And what better guide through hell than a hellhound who could make all three heads of Cerberus cower?
I was a man hunted by himself. Surrounded on all sides by lions of fear and doubt and despair. But Penny helped chase them all away. She hunted those lions each day by keeping my attention on her. She guarded me against those lions each night by leaving me exhausted past a point where nightmares could wrench me awake.
Grief too is a force of nature. But thankfully not even grief can match Penny’s endurance. I know I couldn’t do it alone either. So this year my birthday gift to myself – Zero – was also my birthday gift to Penny. And we both couldn’t be happier.
But what if Eko….? But what if Dutch…? But what ifbutwhatifbutwhatifbutwhatif….
What if? I don’t know.
But what is?
Now, that, my girl has taught me a thing or two about.
a celebration of three years with my savage sage and all her wild wisdom. Thank you for bracing me through all we’ve lost and reminding me to revel in all we’ve gained. Most of all, thank you for helping me live each moment with the full attention and exuberance it deserves.
Happy birthday Miss Penny Mayhem!
yes.. one lion is not enough… bring one the whole pack and Penny makes lion-confetti :o)
Happy Birthday sweet girl!!!!
btw: you said something very important and I will remember what you said when the grief-lion is near…. whatifwhatifwhatif-I don’t know. maybe it can be my mantra, I have no ridgeback who can beat lions… it’s a weimaraner on my side who fears a hedgehog….
Happy Birthday Ms Mayhem!! Our Bentley will turn three this year too and I think she gets on the computer each night to check out your blog to see if she can imitate your doings!! Rest assured Eko and Dutch were at the party celebrating along with you, Emily, Zero and Doc
Happy Birthday Penny!!!!!
We dogs are the best therapists. We keep our humans going no matter what. We helped mom through losing Katie, and her broken ankle. Happy Birthday to Penny! You are now three and just as wild and immature as our 3 yr old Bailie, but we love her and her crazy antics too. Pups like you keep humans on their toes, and life interesting!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY PENNY,
warrior of strength, power, love for family to bring herself n dad n mom through this past year. We will always love Eko but we are so thankful for Zero who joined Penny to bring the laughter n smiles back to dad n mom. Penny, u r the angel in the mayhem to do what u had to do. I love u Penny. Thank u for all u do for me as well, u bring joy to my heart in ur mayhem n love for Zero.
HAPPY 3RD BIRTHDAY SWEET GIRL. ENJOY!
Happy Birthday to Miss Penny Mayhem! Bullitt says hello 🙂
Happy Birthday Penny!!! May your joy to embrace life be celebrated by us all!!!
THREE years already!!! OMG I can’t believe it! She is fearless because she is an Aries dog!!! Ohhh yesss they are fearless, energized, stubborn!!!! Love this girl and her spirit! I apologize I haven’t watched the last two videos yet (I hold them to watch with my husband), hoping to nail him down to watch them in the next day or so!! Sending much love to Penny on her special day!! Penny, thank you for being uniquely YOU!!!!! xoxoxoxo
The most adorable force of nature I’ve seen. *♪ღ♪Happy★Birthday, Ms. Mayhem♪ღ♪*
Birthday wishes to your wonderful girl. And like every good birthday girl she doesn’t want all the gifts for herself. As you so beautifully pointed out, she shares her gifts with all she loves❤❤
It took “a force of nature” like Penny to shake you into the celebration of what life Eko had rather than a mourning of his passing. The first few weeks I too felt like the world was ending when Sammy died and left us but in short order and with the help of Teddy, we are focusing on the time we DID have with him rather than how much MORE time we had hoped to have. We will always miss those who have left us – always – but we can also enjoy what life gives us BACK when it cruelly takes something from us. A strange kind of exchange…….but one that you will find as you get older (like me!) you face more times than you think you will when you’re young………………….HAPPY BIRTHDAY PENNY MAYHEM – here’s to many more years of complete happiness with your special family.
Hugs, Pam, Angel Sammy and Teddy
As I read, I envisioned Eko’s running (a little off the ground) alongside his Penny. He gave her so much and is giving back to you through her. Happy birthday Miss Mayhem and may you have so many more to share your love for life!
Oh my gosh, that means Khoi will be three in a couple months I can’t believe it’s been that long since we got him.
Happy birthday to Miss Penny Mayhem! ❤
That was the most amazing, loving, enlightening, uplifting essay to your precious Penny. It made me want to laugh and cry, which I ended up doing by the end. Thanks for being so open about your grief…it’s a terrible thing we all share in life, but we don’t always SHARE.
Happy Birthday Penny!!
This photo with her literally OFF the ground! So perfect for her, I feel like I know her. (If I could I would pay your way to my house, with both dogs and Emily, to laugh and play and photograph my Perdie dog too! You’re amazing Will.
Happy birthday to Miss Penny!
So beautifully written!
“You seem to suffer under the delusion that I allow you to quit.”
I needed that…
March madness indeed! Beautiful Penny you bring such joy and emotional healing . We’re so glad you made sure Will, Em and Eko picked you.
Happy in your hurricane, Jo, Sam and Dean
Today some close friends are bringing home their Rhodesian puppy. I can’t wait…
I’d wish Penny a Happy Birthday but she’d be too busy mayhemming to read it.
Wishing Penny a very happy birthday, and much more mayhem to come. And I’m also very thankful for the gift that your birthday girl gave to you over the past year.
Cuddling works just as well I’ve found. And in phennys defense, hedgehogs are quite ferocious
Happy Birthday Penny! And Thank you for keeping Will in the present. We’d be lost without all of you ! Sending hugs to Chi from Boulder for your special day!
Happy Birthday Miss Penny Mayhem.Thank you for the gift of you!
Penny is a gift herself – and she gives it to you everyday – enjoy!
Happy Birthday, Penny!
Happy happy happy birthday Miss Penny Mayhem. We love your joy and enthusiasm for life. Birthday snuggles from downunder.
Happy birthday to the cutest, smartest hellhound on earth! Enjoy your special day, P. I hope there’s cake!
Love and licks,
Happy Birthday to a very special girl — Penny Mayhem! May you always keep Dad grounded to this thing called life and having fun! Glad you were able to pull off this special feat!! So have a special treat for your day! Hugs to you all!
Happy Birthday indeed Penny, you gorgeous force of nature!
Happy Birthday dear Penny.With the self centeredness of a child she pulled you forward through the dark days after losing Eko and thank goodness for that.How can you spend your entire time in misery when Penny needs a walk or her dinner or some of your attention?In her mayhem she was wiser than you knew.
Happy birthday Penny!! You make us all smile, even when we thought it was impossible. Well done. And thank you. Thanks for helping Will in the way that only you knew how, and that helped him so perfectly in the circumstances. You’re a whirlwind, but you’re a beautiful one. Here’s to another year of running wild, chasing dogs, and sleeping in the sun.
That girl of yours is very smart. She helped you through your darkest days and was suffering right along with you, yet picked you up and “carried” you through, right into the light. She knew what you needed. We wish her the happiest of birthdays. She deserves to be celebrated.
P.S. I love the fun pictures!!!!!
This: “Time may be relentless, but it certainly slows for tempests and tornados. So too does it yield to their brethren, Penny Mayhem.” Beautifully written, Will and heartfelt. I’m glad your heart is healing. Though you’ll never replace Eko, I’m glad you’ve opened heart and home to a new pooch. Happy birthday, Miss Penny-May. Your love and loyalty are a salve.
HB Penny! My Kloe has a lot of the same characteristics as you seemingly impervious to fatigue, weather, and any obstacle that gets between her and her target (which is mostly her big sister Kali). Having said that although she may be a lot like you, but perhaps the lite version. On the other hand she is only one and much to our surprise a whopping 75 pounds and still growing so who knows. BTW Will, great photo of the brown pups on the brown couch with the brown wall behind. Kind of like a brownie, with chocolate icing on a brown plate…
I’m Three, and I’m Free to love and run and be joyous everyday. Love the picture do the Pups, love in a bundle. Happy Birthday Penny Mayhem
Happy Birthday Penny! ❤️
Happy Birthday pretty girl, have a wonderful third year.
Aww … Penny … Happy Birthday you beautiful, sweet, loving little girl. This year has been a rough one for you and your family. But even through all your sadness and lack of understanding, you have been a strong and blessed source of strength. Happy Birthday you beautiful girl. You sure deserve one.
Happy birthday girl! Can’t believe she is that “old” already, feels like yesterday you got her!
Happy Birthday Ms Mayhem. May this trip around the sun be your best one yet. From the sounds of Will’s narrative, every day for you is a fab new adventure!
Happy birthday hugs to Penny!
Beautiful tribute to a wonderful and wildly spirited girl! Happy belated birthday Penny Mayhem!
Happy Birthday Penny! We are all thankful you are here to help Will (and us) remember what it is to embrace the moment and live life to the fullest 🙂
I’m a few weeks late, but I doubt Penny cares whether the wish is belated or not. Happy birthday to the lion-hunting mayhem queen!