except he isn’t, really…just a dog, that is. Six months ago this big, goofy, handsome, smart, mischievous, loyal and vocal bundle of fur and insecurities bearing the name of a Norse god flopped onto the dog bed of my life and called it home for good. At the time the only thing in my mind was an impulsive desire to not see a dog I cared about surrendered to a shelter or re-homed (again), possibly to strangers. I had no idea how much my life would change or how clearly I would come to understand that you often don’t know what you were missing
until you get it until it “woo-woos” its way into your heart.
I was missing having someone actually HAPPY to see me come home, from anywhere, no matter how long (or short) a time I’d been gone. I was missing a reason to look forward to COMING home and feeling happy, even content, to be there. I was missing conversations with strangers in parks (or on restaurant patios, the street during night walks, in line at stores, or through open windows at stop lights) spending Saturdays at dog expos or meet-ups with other sled-breed owners, turning a one-time internet acquaintance into a long distance friend and “Mala-mentor” (thanks, Almine!), and researching doggie daycare more intensely than I did my choice of university.
Six months ago, who knew I could single-handedly pack up everything I had and move myself to a new place TWICE in one summer looking for a dogs-welcome-no-size-restrictions abode, or happily replace my monthly gym fee with a kibble tab at my local Costco, and structure my race calendar around only events that also welcome four-legged participants? Certainly not me, but I wouldn’t change a thing.
“He is my other eyes that can see above the clouds; my other ears that hear above the winds. He is the part of me that can reach out into the sea. He has told me a thousand times over that I am his reason for being; by the way he rests against my leg; by the way he thumps his tail at my smallest smile; by the way he shows his hurt when I leave without taking him. (I think it makes him sick with worry when he is not along to care for me.) When I am wrong, he is delighted to forgive. When I am angry, he clowns to make me smile. When I am happy, he is joy unbounded. When I am a fool, he ignores it. When I succeed, he brags. Without him, I am only human. With him, I am all-powerful. He is loyalty itself. He has taught me the meaning of devotion. With him, I know a secret comfort and a private peace. He has brought me understanding where before I was ignorant. His head on my knee can heal human hurts. His presence by my side is protection against my fears of dark and unknown things. He has promised to wait for me…whenever..wherever…in case I need him. And I expect I will – as I always have. He is just my dog.” – Gene Hill