In the land of blog, the days come and go so quickly when you don't post. You feel like you have something to say, but not time or attention to give to a moment in your life you'd like to pause and reflect upon, you can get to a paralyzing place and a big long gap in your posting history.
Such is the case with myself, ever since we had to put our sweet dog Scout to sleep three months ago. I am really not sure how others manage to get through the difficult moments in their lives and post so eloquently about them. I seem frozen, paralyzed by not being able to choose the right words, pay enough homage to the moments of my life. Before I know it, they are gone, and not even mentioned in a superficial or sloppy way.
I'm not going to say it's the only reason I haven't posted. There have been other issues that I've been working through behind the scenes. Add to that, all three children home and mostly awake all day, up until late at night, and simply, there is not enough time in the day.
However, there was a sense that I needed to pay tribute to the loss of a member of our family, even if it was of the canine persuasion, before moving too blithely on with the day to day craziness around here.
It's been three months, and still. I miss her, every day. I miss there being a dog in our house, and I miss her particular spirit.
My necklace jangles at my neck and I swiftly turn, thinking for a moment I'm hearing her collar announce her arrival in the next room.
I come in the house through the garage and am reminded again that I don't need to go find her, make sure she's still breathing, doesn't need help up and outside.
|Happy to deal with the mess of the Small World.|
I look around when I'm outside with the kids, sure I'll see her sunning herself out on the grass by the wall.
I went for a walk by myself one evening. Though she hadn't been able to come with me on the leash for months, it still felt strange not having something to do with my arms as I strolled.
There are crumbs. A staggering number of crumbs. Shredded cheese, hardened cereal. Banana sludge. Goldfish bits. Toast, muffin, waffle and bagel bits. Every single one that I have to sweep up into the dustpan seems an affront, a reminder of the ways I took my dear dog for granted while she was here. Climbing under the high chair even when her back legs were too unsteady to keep her vertical on the slippery hardwood for the best morsels of baby leftovers. Hoovering up the remains of lunch even when I thought she couldn't see or hear enough to know that we were done eating.
I'll admit, I don't miss cleaning up pee spots, or dealing with the loss of bowel functions. I am glad I don't have to feel sad for her arthritic joints and her mournful eyes. Old age is not for the faint of heart, for sure.
For fifteen years, nearly all of my adult life, I cared for her. For fifteen years, she was my true friend, who moved with me and lived with me and companioned me in six different homes. She amiably accepted husbands separate but definitely not equal, then three children, lived off and on with three other dogs. Not long before Scout passed away, when things were getting bad for her and I was struggling to know what was the right thing to do, a friend who's known both dog and me for a long time said, with tears in her eyes: "She saved your life. She was your best friend all that time, through your worst stuff." And that is truer than true.
|My best girls.|
Sometimes more cat than dog, she spent good stretches of the day by herself, sprawled belly up in the grass or upstairs on her pillow. But she knew when her company was needed, sidling up alongside me to nose elbow up so I could give her butt a scratch, then she'd lie right down next to the couch where you sat, to stay for as long as I needed.
Even as a puppy, she did mostly what she pleased. In obedience class, she did fine with sit, and stay, and lie down, but steadfastly refused to come. The instructor told me this would not be a dog we'd easily bribe with a treat. And it was true, for a dog, she was not so much eager to do what we pleased as she was willing to do what she thought might please us. Her only tricks involved "telling stories" in to form of repeated growly yowling noises in the back of her throat, and sneezing on demand. Her favored greeting was a growl of excitement while stretching luxuriantly.
|O.'s first buddy, staunchest watchdog.|
Because our house feels so much less like a home without a dog, we have cautiously decided we are going to open our family to another dog this weekend. Maybe it's too soon. We're not sure. However, we do think our kids should have a dog around. We have kind of been enjoying not having to let a dog out last thing at night when you just want to fall into bed, not stand around encouraging pee in the wet grass. But, we are willing to stand around some in the cold and rain, in exchange for some warm fur to pet. And the crumbs. Seriously, the crumbs.
|Scout, cutest puppy there ever was.|
|Beautiful girl. Good dog.|
We're hoping this sweet dog we're adopting, 9 months to a year old, will already have a few manners, because we're really not up to another newborn in this house. We'd love it if she'd actually return a ball after chasing it. So while we understand, and even hope, that this dog will be different than our last, we're still maintaining that this little one has got some mighty big pawprints to fill.
|Last picture ever taken of my old gal. I think I knew it when I took it, but wasn't quite willing to admit it, |
and that's why I included her in the edge of this shot of O's birthday