The Next Day

Of course, I come in my office, sit down at my desk, and there are two Milk-Bones sitting here.

I’m waiting for the Cardinal to appear in the tree outside. Or a row of pennies leading me down the back steps. Not really.

I don’t believe in signs, angels, spirit animals or any of that stuff. Other people do and that’s fine. Who am I to say?

My dog died yesterday while I held her muzzled head. The muzzle was a precaution, a needless one probably, this dog was never a biting dog, but she didn’t like folks messing with her legs and, well, that was part of the deal. The vet listened to her heart not beating and then she reached over, unbuckled the muzzle and slipped it off. She told us to turn out the light when we left.

So we left, just minutes later, and that was that.

I gave myself the day to feel pretty bad about it and the day is just about done. I figure there will be days and weeks of missing her, thinking she’s coming up the stairs to sit with me here, coming for those two juicy Milk-Bones.

I’m thinking of doing a dog wall with all our famous dogs – Davey, the Doberman-Husky puppy bought right after we got married, Jack, the regal Samoyed I got as a graduation present and a consolation prize, having just found out I couldn’t have any more children, Tiny, the crazy, furiously loyal blue-eyed Australian Shepherd-Collie who was the last dog at the Humane Society, BowWow, the pugnacious, profane Bichon, brought home by my husband for a ‘sleepover’ that lasted 13 years, and, finally, Minnie, my son’s sweet dog who grew too big for efficiency apartment living and turned up here one fine afternoon. “Mom, can you take Minnie?” “Sure, for how long?” “For a while.” It turned out to be a long while.

I made the mistake of anthropomorphizing the last two dogs, giving them personalities and voices in a series of Minnie and BowWow conversations published on this blog. It was fun but made them seem more than dogs so letting them go was much harder almost like I’d not have been surprised to have them actually utter dying words to me.

In thirty-five years together, we have had no more than two or three months without a dog in the house. And a couple of those months were dead of winter months of great unhappiness, hollowness, that were made better, mended, healed, by the joy of a new dog.

So now we’re without a dog but we aren’t unhappy or hollow but our house is empty and rambling with just us but it will soon be real spring and time to start over with a new dog. That’s what we do in spring, yes, start over. It’s what life expects of us.

4 Comments on “The Next Day

  1. This is lovely and thought-provoking, Jan. Maybe I’ll even take the plunge by myself, some day, to get another dog. I’ve only had three pets as an adult: one dog and two cats. They were all sort of foisted on me by others, but I ended up loving them. I understand how quiet and different your house must feel, right now.

  2. Minnie was loved and so loving. I feel like knew her and BowWow, and I am richer for that. Thanks for bringing them into my life.

    • The house has not been the same without BowWow’s constant swearing, I will say that. They were really a pair. And Minnie, well, Minnie, she was one of a kind, for sure.

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