In one of my most vivid memories from childhood I am holding Indy, our aged and infirm family Dalmatian, on the floor of the veterinarian’s office with my mother. Suffering from interminable seizures, and nearly unable to walk, Indy is past the point where we can convince ourselves that even the most dedicated and loving care offers him comfort.
The vet speaks to us kindly in a
hushed voice and we soothe Indy while I watch the viscous pink fluid push
through the IV. I’m shocked by how quickly Indy dies. One moment I’m holding my
dog, and in the space between breaths he is gone.
What sticks with me most about that moment is not Indy’s death. It is the strange feeling I had that the lifeless body I held afterwards was not him. A feeling that the spotted coat in my arms was just that, a coat Indy left behind as he flew away with the air of that last breath.
I used to believe love was a
spark. That feeling when the steel of my soul struck against the flint of
another’s and set my heart on fire.
We remember sparks vividly. The
electricity of a first kiss. The awe of holding your child for the first time.
The serenity of first meeting your dog and realizing they were always your dog
– it just took a bit of time to find each other.
How many Rhodesian Ridgebacks can fit on your couch? The paradoxical answer is either all of them, or none of them! We recently upgraded our couch to give us all more room and well, you can probably guess how that turned out…
I’m turning in my 2018 homework a bit late because…my dog ate it? Hm, no, the dogs were the homework, so that doesn’t work. I’m a bit out of practice with excuses, but either way, thanks for joining us at all the stops along the way in 2018!
One Christmas Eve my father told us a story. Gathered on my brother’s bed, he whispered conspiratorially of stamping hooves and shaken bells he once heard on the roof as a child. Awed, we asked the questions children ask. Did he run outside? Did he see them? Did he see him??
“I heard the reindeer leap off the roof, and that was enough,” he said.
He kissed us each goodnight and left us to wonder. Was the story true? We quietly mused on the matter, shushing each other to listen at any perceived creak above our heads. Would this be the night we answered the question of whether the magic was real?
I often talk about how thankful I am to have my dogs, but I’m also grateful they have each other. With Zero turning two this weekend, I took a look back at how he’s helped Penny rediscover herself. It means the world to me that these two have grown so close and are always happiest together. Happy Thanksgiving and happy birthday Zero!
Do I have any idea how to raise a child? No. But do I dedicate myself to reading parenting books and trying to learn? Also no. Thus far my fall back plan has been taking care of Lincoln by taking care of the dogs. It may lead him to a predilection for eating out of a dog bowl, but nonetheless I’m pretty happy with the results!
Our fears are our own. No one can take them from us, so we must find a way to face them. Thankfully, our dogs are willing to lend us their courage when we find our own lacking. I’m grateful Lincoln already finds inspiration in Penny and Zero.