My friends Dik and Mary Ann lost their special boy PD yesterday. I woke up several times during the night thinking of them. I hate to even think of their pain but I hope they can find some comfort in knowing that they are wonderful dog parents and no dog had a better life than PD. He was special. He was always loved.
And this event inspired me to try to write about dogs. Now I don’t believe I can do the dog-person relationship justice. And I don’t think anyone who doesn’t have a dog could ever really get it but I’m going to take a run at this.
I got my first dog Dave when I was 37. I remember thinking after a few short weeks that I had no idea what I had been missing. I had spent years without a dog when I could have had one. I find it to be one of life’s most rewarding experiences. Dave was my baby. I have his ashes sealed in a little green container and it’s going with me. I still think of him all the time. Dave spent a lot of a time in a blue denim pooch pouch – all 5 pounds of him. I still have it. Like a backwards backpack with an opening at the top. I took him everywhere my little papoose. He went grocery shopping and to Marshall’s, on errands, to all the local Connecticut events – craft shows and the Apple Festival, the fall fairs we have here every year, parades. He went to work with me sometimes. He spent a lot of time with his grandparents and his real parents Honey and Moose – quite the pair themselves. I loved Dave with all my heart.
Honey and Moose lived with my parents. Moose was a loveable little guy. Sweet through and through. Everyone loved Moose. I loved him too. But that Honey, she was my sister. She was one special bitch and I don‘t mean like a dog bitch. White toy poodle. No more than 8 pounds. And she was the goddamn leader of the pack, get out of my way, the Queen is here, straighten up and fly right, walk behind me, I am in front fool, thank you for your cooperation, the end. Now pet me. I loved her a LOT. She had “attitude”.
I lost Dave in March 2001. He had kidney failure. I didn’t realize he was sick; it came on and ended so suddenly. And he was gone. Just like that. In a few days. I cried Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday. I woke up Saturday morning and started to cry again and then I realized I had to stop. Just had to. I was so tired.
I am driving home from work. Why am I bothering to go home. I don’t have a dog. I should go out and do something. But I’m 45 years old and I don’t want to go out. I want to go home. I drive into the garage. I don’t have a dog. I am walking toward the door. I insert the key. Why isn’t the dog barking. Oh my god I don’t have a dog. Repeat. For days.
Then came Mike. Mike from Springfield. I liked him immediately. He was rowdy. That is why I picked him. Silly me. He was about 4 months old that afternoon I drove him home, and more than 25 pounds. Not like Dave. I remember napping one Saturday shortly thereafter and waking up to something. And it was this. Mike’s face. Two inches from mine. Over me. Staring down. His nose looked huge from that angle. I’m looking into those liquid brown eyes and thinking I like you but will I ever love you like I loved Dave?
The answer to that is no. Not like I loved Dave. Different than I loved Dave. But love him I do. Mike is not my baby. He is my guy. Big and bold. Silly and smart. My dog has a sense of humor. He is standing right here looking at me now. Like a lunatic with a squished yellow tennis ball in his mouth.
Here is something I believe. And this applies to my whole life. You get out of things what you put into them. I love my Mikey. All 65 pounds of him. I trust him. He is beautiful to me. I kiss him and hug him. He sits right in front of me and looks up at my face waiting for permission to leap. I pat the front of my chest and he jumps up and put his “hands” on my shoulders. We dance in the living room and I sing to him wild thing you make my heart sing you make everything grooooooooovy. And I get it back. The love. The trust. The sense of fun. One would never say Mike had a subdued personality. Like his mama.
It’s awful that our dogs’ life expectancies are so short. But they are. I’m thinking of you all now my beautiful boys and girls – the ones who are not with us – PD & Dave, Tiger, Cricket, Honey & Moose. And the ones who are still with us – Scooter, Ally, Shilo, Marty, My best boy Mike, Lady and the girls AKA Some Poodles, Hickory, Mack, Boo, Barkley, Rock. And your dogs too.
So in honor of PD, I’m going to give Mike one of his favorite treats today. His big red Kong with a couple of globs of peanut butter stuffed in there. Two or three broken up dog cookies pushed inside and stuck to the peanut butter. Or cheerios. He likes cheerios. And I’m gonna hug him and kiss him and call him good boy. And I will give him the Kong and tell him this is in memory of PD. He was a good boy too.