and it’s been bothering me quite a bit. I moved without her a couple months back knowing I’d never see her again. To see her would be cruel I think. Entering her world again just to leave a few hours later and leave her waiting by the door for me to return. A bit selfish too, I don’t think I could do it, too much pain for both of us.
I like to look back and think I did the noble thing, Leaving her in the home she knew with the yard she’d sniffed out daily for the eleven years we loved her. I miss her for all my complaining about her. She and I were close, we spent every day together and we knew each others faults. She was my friend. Some people don’t think of pets as parts of the family but I do.
There were days she was my only friend. We walked the canal together when my heart was broken, we shared my bed on winter nights, We faced each morning out on the deck together. It’s funny, I took it a little hard when my kids grew up and no longer needed me so much, I handled turning forty with as much grace as I could muster but saying goodbye to Puppy has me in a funk that grows every day. I miss that old beast. She was a part of me.
I’ve always had a pet. Usually a cat because my parents wouldn’t allow me a dog and when I was out on my own and the time came for me to get a dog I had two small children to leash, no time for a dog. I finally got one, Norm. Named after Norm on Cheers, Norm was a pure bred cocker spaniel. We loved Norm even though he had the ability to snore and fart at the same time. But he was stolen and by the time we healed the boys were too involved in baseball, Boy Scouts, soccer, and other boyish activities to get another dog. It wouldn’t be fair. Cats can stay home alone but dogs need plenty of company.
Then Puppy came into our lives as a …puppy. Her real name was Ty, short for Tchaikovsky. She was a ball of fur and energy and when she wasn’t biting people she kind of grew on you. Ty turned into Puppy and she became one of us. Because I worked at home she and I formed a bond. She annoyed the snot out of me most of the time but no matter where I was or what I did she was right there with me. When I started doing furniture she’d lie there in the sun watching me work only disappearing under the deck when I pulled out the sanders. She wasn’t so fond of things like that. We’d chase frogs, blow frozen bubbles, and belly rubbing was a command not a treat. It was hard to be mad at her, even when she used the litter box as a buffet table or left me gifts of dead moles and mice in my slippers.
She was a part of me and I miss her so much it hurts. But she’s an old girl and she can’t do wooden floors or be stuck inside a house because of a non fenced in yard. Her hips can’t do stairs and she is better off where she is. It was a touch choice but the best one. I like to think she misses me too but not too much because I never want her sad. I know she’s fat and happy and spoiled rotten and I know she’ll enjoy her days chasing those damn squirrels on the fence.
Both Puppy and that stupid squirrel know she’ll never catch it but every day it waited for her and then ran the length of the fence back to the pine trees while she raced alongside and barked. One time she met it face to face under the bird feeder and I’m not sure who was more confused that old dog or that stupid squirrel. It was a Sam and Ralph moment and after that they’d say hello as the punched into a new day and the chasing was on. At the end of the day they went off to start again the next day. “Morning Sam” “Morning Ralph”
I’ve talked before about not being so sure there’s a heaven for us humans but I have no doubt there’s one for pets. A place where old dogs can chase squirrels and nip at people, where they can bark at mailmen and put dubious gifts in slippers for their pet humans to find. If there is a heaven for us humans I know Puppy and I will have a chance to walk the canal path and sit out on the deck and enjoy the sunrise. I’d give anything to have the chance to sit outside in the winter and watch that crazy dog of mine jump and twist in the air trying to catch frozen bubbles and maybe play a game of fetch on a summer night, even though our games always turned into me throwing and fetching while she ran with me
and pretended she was playing too. I’ll miss sitting outside with her on Saturday mornings listening to the marching band practicing a town over. Even though there were miles between us and the school, we could hear it softly in the distance. We’d listen to the football games at the HS and college in the Fall and at Christmas we’d lie on the floor and look at the Christmas tree lights while we waited for the boys to get home from wrestling practice.
I am a lucky woman, I had a friend like Puppy and I’m blessed for having known her. I’m going to think she loves me too and every once in a while she thinks about me. And if God’s feeling kindly toward me as I end my days I really hope she and I get to meet up someday, me with my camera in my hand and her with her leash in her mouth waiting to walk the canals and spend some time together.