Life with Dogs.

Two things happened back to back this week that have left me feeling unusually contemplative.  The first is that my dog Charlie was in a car accident.  She seems to be healing well, nothing was broken and there doesn’t seem to be any kind of permanent damage, but it made my heart stop.  I called the dogs in and one came but the other didn’t.  The neighbor dogs were all wining and jumping at their fences which was so strange, because normally they bark at me.  I saw a truck pulled over off the side of the road and a man holding what at first looked like a black garbage bag.  Then my heart dropped out of my body because I realized it was my dog.  I ran over and waved him down, and he handed me the dog and said, “it’s bleeding.”

All I could think was that she HAD to be okay, there was not a universe in which she was allowed to leave us so soon after joining our family.  My daughter adores her and uses her as a pillow and a napkin and a blanket and her silent partner in crimes.  She’s not even two yet, she doesn’t know about things dying.  And she’s way too young to know.  I saw that Charlie was bleeding, from behind one ear.  Her hair was matted there, and she wasn’t even looking at me.  I took her inside, wrapped her in a couple of towels, and set her down on the couch while I tried to figure out what to do.  Her brother, Sparkle, started flipping out, alternating between licking her face and asking to play and yipping at me and pulling on pants to try to get me to do something.  Of course I had no idea what to do.  By that point, it had only been a few minutes, Charlie was already starting to make a little sound and move around.  I felt like we had all just barely missed a huge tragedy.  What if I hadn’t seen the man get out of the truck?  What if I’d waited a few more minutes to call in the dogs?  What if, what if, what if.

But “what if” didn’t happen.  Charlie is going to be fine.

The next day, Neil Gaiman’s dog died.  All I can think is that it’s this huge thing, to lose a pet.  Our pets are in a very real way a part of ourselves.  They give us back a part of ourselves that we don’t have to acknowledge if we live without them.  There is a part of man that was made to be in the wilderness, to tend to wild things.  When we invite wild things into our homes we bring that part of ourselves back to life.  There’s also a tenderness they teach us that nothing else can.  Sometimes we don’t realize what our mood is, when we are angry or sad, but our dogs know.  They’ll play with us when we’re playful and when we are angry they will give us that lookthe ears flat on the skull, head butting against our shins look, the look that says, this is painful, please don’t be this way.”

Dogs also make you be responsible.  If you don’t pick up your jammies, they claim them.  If you leave out the legos they eat them.  If you don’t clean up the lunch, they appropriate it.

I wouldn’t want to have to live without them.  I’m glad I don’t have to yet, but I know that my daughter will probably still be too young to have her driver’s license when Charlie does die, and that breaks my heart.

But, still, I think that even if she did understand death right now she would gladly bear the pain of it later to have her pillow, her blanket, her conspirator, her closest friend to stay at her side now.  And I wouldn’t give up Charlie now to spare that pain later, either.  That pain is the price we have to pay for keeping our whole selves alive.

 

It’s okay.

Baby and Charlie

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6 thoughts on “Life with Dogs.

    • He was acting really disconnected and strange. At the time I didn’t realize how odd it was, I was so terrified. Now I wonder if he was the one who hit Charlie. I didn’t see it happen, so I don’t know.

  1. Yeah, I’m pretty sure it WAS him that hit Charlie. That’s the way it usually goes. Most people don’t pull over unless it’s them that hits the dog. Geesh. Do you know the other day, when I was at the hospital and I made that post on FB that I had nothing else to do except cyber stalk all my fb friends? lmbo You may or may not have seen that but my point is that for some reason you popped into my mind and I started looking at your pics and I saw your baby “R” with her little doggie blankie and her napkin! lol I just thought that was ADORABLE and she’s for sure cute overload! So is Charlie though. So I know exactly how she can’t lose her friend.

    I’ve said time and time again how I’m not going to have any other animals after these die. I can’t go through the pain (of their death) again…. but then I also can’t really live without that connection and my kids aren’t going to be little forever (I only have 1 left at home now). Besides, pets love you more than your kids do! lol So I keep getting more. Guess it’s no use saying that I’m done with death. Hey! I’m SO glad Charlie’s ok! :-)

    • I do remember that post! Baby “R” is definitely cute overload. And she is so cute with her dogs, she loves them SO much. I dread the day that we lose our pets but even so I know I’ll probably always have some kind of animal in the house. They keep us going! And they definitely love in a way that kids don’t. Glad you’re feeling well enough to be back to blogging, by the way! I’ve really missed you.

  2. Awwwwwww! I missed YOU too! I seriously missed reading about all your opinions and your WISDOM. I remember being SO shocked when I realized you weren’t my age (a million years ago). lol You’re an old soul, that’s for sure. Good to be back :-) It’s different though cause I don’t have my grove like I did on Vox. Maybe it’ll come back maybe it won’t…. we shall see! lol

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