“I’m home! Can you come out and help me with something?”
I can, but I don’t want to. I’m finally sitting down, letting every muscle let go of on-mode and melt into the couch.
“This will just take a minute.” Ok, I drag myself off the couch and as I open the back door a little lab puppy jumps on me, wagging his tail and wiggling everywhere.
“What the…” I don’t want a puppy. I have a full-time plus job and my husband travels for work so training will be all mine. If only our other dog would take some responsibility here. But, this is our dance. He brings dogs home and I fall in love with them.
I try to resist, but fat chance. So, I sit on the ground and let him love me.
We name him Buster and I start the training. He is smart – and wily. He knows how to work me and he’s only 12 weeks old. He’s housebroken quickly but ‘come’ and ‘sit’ seem only to be suggestions. Every day I have a new story about something he’s gotten into.
Years later, he is much better behaved but still has a puppy heart. Nothing is boring. If it exists, it must be for his benefit – to smell, eat, hide. He has attached himself to me and follows me everywhere. When I’m cooking, he lays in the middle of the kitchen just in case I drop something. I step over him to get to the refrigerator. He sleeps with us and has to lay across the bed between us. My husband says we look like an ‘H’.
He lives at full speed. There’s always something new to sniff, a squirrel to chase. Then, one day, he just stops. His feet slide out from under him on the tile floor. He walks slowly with his head down. No smiles or tail wagging today. His eyes look sad, or maybe that’s just the reflection of mine. The vet says tumors, nothing can be done.
I cry. And cry. When I see his collar on the table, I cry some more. I hear his nails clicking on the kitchen floor – but he’s not there. The grief subsides. Then, one day, I’m resting on the couch and hear, “I’m home! Can you come out and help me with something?”