July 20, 2015
I’m constantly learning that I can’t expect lives to go on forever. I tend to learn that lesson like the rolled-up newspaper to the nose. It’s not that I don’t learn the lesson the jillion times before; it’s that I forget. I suppose that does define not learning something.
The Monday is unusually quiet. I can’t get Pandora to play my Heart Meditation station. I listed to the house. The air filter just kicked on. There’s a steady whir, kind of like the ocean, but there’s not an in and out, there’s just the in. Poor thing works very hard in this house of fur and dust. I had hoped that by moving into a new house, I wouldn’t have the dust problems I had on River Road, but if I really wanted a dust-free house, I’d have to pet-free, and that’s never going to happen.
In the good old days, teachers could bring their dogs to school. I was a student teacher in a reading program the summer I brought Lucy into the fold. She was younger than I would have preferred, so I asked if I could bring the pup to work.
I was with third through fifth grade kids. They fell in love with this little ball of white gold. So wiggly and loving; she had to make sure that all kids got enough attention. But being a growing dog, she slept well. There were some back packs that were more comfortable than others. So much noise would be happening with twenty-five loose-wires moving about, but it didn’t phase her. Maybe that’s why she became such a loud snorer. In order to be heard, she had to project.
In meetings, Lucy would almost get me into trouble. She’d be sound asleep on my lap and as the talk started to get passionate, her snore would be so loud that other teachers were sure that it was me who had nodded off. I’d just point to her and shake my head.
I haven’t had that many dogs in my life even though there hasn’t been many days without having a dog in my life. But as we all know dogs don’t have a long enough lifespan. I sometimes think that it’s a cruel joke that God plays; I fall in love with this being and in a dozen years, that being’s no longer.
I didn’t really know Pip. The senior Beagle. I may have a picture or two of the old dog and me as a baby.
Pip’s son, Pippet, was my rock. My foundation as I learned about the trials and pitfalls of life. I don’t think it was too long after he died that my mom died.
It took a lot of begging to get Beagle number three. Pippie or Pippy, AKA P-Dog and Poopy Dog. I don’t think I am making any of this up yet, but who knows. Another Rock of Gibraltar. I was the only one that this stubborn beast would listen to. He’s the dog I had to train with a rock. Wasn’t as bad as it sounds. His death was at a pinnacle time where I’m in-between colleges and ready to move out of my Father’s house.
Kahlua. My first son. Unplanned. Sitting in a wagon outside a store in Rhode Island. Warwick, R.I. The third floor apartment in Boston didn’t allow dogs. The studio apartment was already cramped. After a few moves to save a failing relationship, Kahlua and I hit the road and drove out to Oregon. He never liked car trips after that. Is there something stronger than the Rock of Gibraltar? I should have given one of the Beagles the Plymouth Rock or something smaller. It’s impossible to compare dogs. They are so different depending on the training. Kahlua got a lot of training, and having German Shep in him as well as Collie, this made him amazingly smart.
Following that German Shep and Collie pattern, the universe provided me with two pups from Montana almost immediately after I buried Kahlua. Harold and Maude. It was like going from a fine wine to sour grapes. I had never had two puppies at a time before, and these guys were chewers! The house. The car. Everything. I was trying to go to college and train these guys and it was crazy; they did turn into wonderful companions. Harold was more or less my dog, and Maude was Sylvia’s.
Most of my dogs aren’t planned. When Joe Sandoz, Sylvia’s cousin, offered us one of his Labrador pups, it didn’t matter that Harold and Maude were in the picture; they were slowing down, and it’s impossible to turn down a free pure bred Chocolate Labrador.
Jules. Because H & M had slowed down so much, Jules did get a lot of attention. Smart as a whip. Large vocabulary. I could buck a tennis ball over the Dome house and he would base his find on his sense of hearing; he couldn’t see where the ball landed, and he would look until he found it. I’ve never had a dog with such a long attention span.
I’ve gotten used to multiple dogs in my pack. Mostly they help me when the cycle of loss comes around. Having a young one in the mix, helps me anchor. I’ve moved from rocks to other unmoveable objects.
Lucy was Jules’ dog. My life had gotten busier, and I knew he needed a buddy. Lovely Lucy. Not the smartest tool in the shop, but still a vital instrument for this fold. Many times a day I get such a chuckle watching Lucy, Abby the Labby Number Nine, and Ricky playing. Lucy holds her own against the constant Brat attacks of Abby. Abby’s about half her age and not showing many signs of slowing down. Ricky is the sweetest boy I’ve ever had; I’m sold on rescue dogs.