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What do the Olympic Games and Bean Have in Common?

The Olympics have always kept me spellbound. There’s a mixture of childhood memories of our entire family sitting in the living room, in agreement, watching the talent of athletes from near and far as they put their bodies to the test. Those memories, along with the pride I feel for those athletes who represent our country (although, I will forever root for the underdog, no matter where that person is from) are some of the reasons why I have been obsessed with the Olympics ever since I was a child.

Remember the Tonya Harding debacle? I watched that whole crazy train unfold on TV sitting in the living room with my parents. I remember scrunchies, massive amounts of hair spray, sobbing, broken shoelaces, sequins for days, and gasps of horror. It was everything you could hope to see on television, and it was amazingly horrible.

So, now that we’ve ventured down memory lane, you may be thinking “what on earth does this have to do with Bean?” I’m so glad you asked that question. Let me tell you what Bean and the Olympics have in common.

The answer is timing. You see, 8 years ago, around this time of year, Bean was a tiny puppy. I’m guessing that, during that two week window of winter games viewing, she was about 7 pounds. One of her ears was still floppy and the other had found its way to standing straight up. She was still afraid of the ground. She would quiver if she was on the floor for too long. So we would swoop her up and create a nest of blankets for her on the couch.

She was so small (with a tiny bladder to match) that when we went to a friend’s house to watch the Opening Ceremonies that year, she came with us in a tiny travel crate so we could be sure she was able to have some bathroom breaks. We cuddled as we observed proud representatives from their countries carry their flags and walk with their team. We hummed the theme to the Olympics in Bean’s non-floppy ear. We fashioned a medal out of the top of a yogurt container (a la The Office) and adorned her tiny brown and white neck.

We don't have many photos of Bean as a tiny nugget, since I had a bad phone and didn't understand how important taking photos would be for our story telling.

Following the Opening Ceremonies, we spent hours together inspired by the talent and dreams brought to life of the athletes on the screen. We would fall asleep to the excited yells of fans and tell-tale sound of a bobsled making contact with its track as it sped towards the finish. I dreamed of all the adventures Bean and I would share in our lives together.

In a blink, four years sped by, and we found ourselves on the couch again getting ready for the Olympic Games to begin. Bean was a young adult who hated eating, suffered from allergies, and was recently diagnosed with a cancerous Mast Cell Tumor. She was scheduled to have her tumor removed a few weeks after the Olympics were slated to come to an end.

We pushed aside our unease about Bean’s health issues to enjoy the joy of Olympics viewing that year. She enjoyed our nightly snuggles, the humming of the theme song, and the treats we fashioned for her in the shape of the Olympic rings.

Now, in Bean’s third cycle of winter Olympics viewing, she is considered a senior, with frosty eyebrows that match her cantankerous personality. She is four years cancer free at this point. She eats with enthusiasm now and her allergies are being well maintained. What a difference four years can make!

Yoda had not been a part of the winter Olympic viewing tradition until this year and you can bet he has enjoyed cheering on the USA while snuggling on the couch with the rest of us.

I wonder where four more years will take us?! I hope Bean will still be a part of the story when we hear the music play at the opening ceremonies next time. Until then, we will enjoy each moment together as we sit, dormant, most likely eating something unhealthy, while watching incredible athletes test their bodies to the limit.

Doesn't this make you wish the Olympic Games were dog friendly? Photo taken at a local Ice Hockey Game but we can pretend it's for the Red White and Blue!

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