Ponder this:

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Dogs

I was up and down all night. Back in bed once again I tried to believe I might get sleepy again. Max began to stir, edging toward the side of the bed. If he hits the floor I have to get up because his bladder won't wait long. I tried to settle him down, whispering to him, petting him, but his timer had kicked on. I peeked at the digital clock and saw the two tines of the four o'clock pitchfork and some illegible-without-my-glasses minutes.  I tried ignoring him, until the bed began to quiver with his tense poising at the edge in preparation for the long jump down.
Thump.
Oh well. I want coffee anyway.
So we are up while Daddy still sleeps, I hope, through the intermittent doggy exclamations. Everybody's had "out" time and we're waiting for the kibble to steep enough to be irresistible to the poodles. G'luck with'at. The lump of liverwurst has outlived its irresistibility and a new lump is called for to ensure pill-swallowing: a chore to be accomplished on the way home from work in twelve hours.

My good friend's dog died yesterday. An open-hearted big red boy, O'R would have been thirteen on Halloween. He spent too long, before he was rescued, all alone in a dark basement with someone coming to feed him once or twice a day. B adopted him seven years ago and his life exploded into fireworks of comfort and daily small joyful events. Walks and new friends everywhere and a blue bandanna around his neck. Days in the shade on the deck and nights (except the thunderstorm nights) of cuddling with his beloved mom. Some dogs are partners; some are babies. Marly was my partner; the poodles are my babies, Heaven help me. Like having toddlers for fourteen years. B's big red boy was of the baby type, goofy and sweet and easily 'whelmed at times. The day they came to visit here, when Marly was still on earth, O'R was so intimidated by Marly's intense interest that he leapt onto the coffee table to get away from her, and stood, all thirty-some inches of him, quivering in trepidation until we removed Marly from the room. B was aghast. It remains a funny and charming memory for me.

I'm not sure how many more pet deaths I can stand. I don't grieve for the animals, I grieve for those of us left behind, looking at the hole in the room, in the front yard, along the canal, romping through the field, where the beloved gleaming body was . . . trying by strength of imagination to make the hole fill again with the strong happy legs and flying tails and ears.

There's always another animal waiting to be brought home, and learned . . . another animal waiting to be loved, like the velveteen rabbit, into realness. That process is sweet and I know the joyful stretching of the heart that it brings. It's the heartbreak at the other end that takes my breath away.

27 comments:

Wanda..... said...

Your post is written so well, June. Makes me revisit the sadness in the passing of our "Butter" & "Gena"...

morningbrayfarm said...

Wow. You always manage to say it so darned perfectly. Wow. Wow. Wow.

threecollie said...

Beautifully written. You give me comfort. Thank you.

Carolynn said...

I feel the same way. I don't know how many more goodbyes I can handle. Yet, I can't imagine life without an animal in it. We've had my rescue cat, Celine, for several months and we're still trying to figure her little idiosyncracies out.

My heart goes out to B. It breaks when I think of the horrible life O'R had before she took him out of that house. She did good.

Freda said...

Today, I picked up the Velveteen Rabbit and put it aside to read to my grand-daughter next time she's here. It's a fabulous story. I love your tales of your doggie friends. Every Blessing

Friko said...

Don't June, please don't.
Because I always rescue dogs, mine are always around 4 years old when they come to rule my roost. Which means that I have to say good bye to them a bit sooner than people who have puppies. Benno is eleven this
Christmas, a fair age for a lab.

I can't bear the thought, so go away thought, go away.

Lord Wellbourne said...

What morningbrayfarm said. Ditto.

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Hi June, I have only had one dog in my life. Duchess (cocker spaniel) lived for about 15 yrs. We got her from a friend as a baby--for my two younger sons. BUT--once the boys grew up and left home, Duchess was mine. I loved her --and when she died, I though I would die right along with her.

We don't have any pets now because we travel so much. I'm not sure I'll ever have any pets again --unless I'm alone and lonely. I know for sure that I would never want a little 'yappy' dog... So many people around her have those yappy dogs and they drive everyone crazy....

Hope you have a great day.
Hugs,
Betsy

Fran said...

One of my worst moments was telling a kid off about her missing homework and then finding out from a friend of hers that her dog had died the night before. Embarrassing or what?

#1Nana said...

Oh you say it so well...it has been several years since our last pet died but i still remember the love.

Autumn Mist said...

I know exactly what you mean. Tessa will be 10 on Christmas Day. We both know we'll never have another one like her, so intelligent, so obedient, so loyal. But can I live with a gaping hole? Only time will tell.

#1Nana said...

June, You got my creative juices going. You inspired me to write about my daughter's cat, Edna. I enjoyed your piece and I enjoyed my trip down memory lane. I linked to your post in mine.

http://plentifulsufficiency.blogspot.com/2010/09/remembering-edna.html

English Rider said...

Empty holes in our physical environs, maybe, but hearts that are full of love and trust and memories.

Hilary said...

Oh June.. this tugs at the heartstrings. Until Benny came along, I'd never had a dog. I've been a cat person all my adult life. They leave those same holes when they go. You're so right about dogs being partners or babies. In Benny's case, I believe he's both - a partner to Frank and a baby to me. This was so beautifully written. Thanks for that.

Vicki Lane said...

So true. It's the price we pay . . . the unspoken bargain at the beginning of the relationship. We are down to four dogs from six -- in our forty seven years of marriage there have been many many dogs -- all bright memories. And I'd do it over again, knowing what was coming.

Vicki Lane said...

So true. It's the price we pay . . . the unspoken bargain at the beginning of the relationship. We are down to four dogs from six -- in our forty seven years of marriage there have been many many dogs -- all bright memories. And I'd do it over again, even knowing what was coming.

Bernie said...

Referring back to my post first---you certainly have interesting friends!!!! Viagraed him to death indeed:)

Your post on dogs and loving them and then losing them is a fact of life. It is so sad to lose them but one thing-- you can usually replace them later with another dog in your heart. It is hard to do that with people.

Frank Baron said...

Now that was an impressive manipulation of the alphabet!

You have a good heart and a deft pen. Well done. :)

Barb said...

I have a tear gleaming in the eye now, June. I'm remember old Breezy Girl, my last furry pal. I've had 3 dogs as a grownup - wonderful souls. I miss them all now more than I should.

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