… is a funny thing. Tonight, I find myself smiling at all the wonderful memories I have of Dakota, almost as much as I cry. I remember what happened on Saturday morning, and realize that she was a warrior dog, protecting her pack.
And the pack is busy reassigning her various roles. Believe it or not, Dakota, after just a few times watching me, took over the role of picking the ticks off her puppies, Miranda and Bear. Now, that role is mine, once again. Miranda, the female, has taken over Dakota’s job of sleeping in my bed. The problem is, Miranda snores. Dakota did not. Bear, her male puppy, is the only one who has the warrior’s heart, like Dakota. I am waiting to see if he assumes the role of protecting the pack. And Gideon? Well, Gideon is like the male lion. He is mostly for show. He is loving, and beautiful, with a lion’s mane. But courage? Protection? Those aren’t his strong points. He is more of a clown and people-pleaser. He would take over the bed routine, but with his long hair, I prefer the only other short hair in the pack besides Dakota.
It helped me tremendously to find my favorite photograph of Dakota. Now, I can see her whenever I choose. It also helped to have received SO many expressions of care and condolences from my friends, near and far. I treasure the understanding so many of you offered in private emails.
Some may think that my loss was not great. “She was only a dog.” I never heard from those people. I heard from “dog people” who know that these pets are like our children. These loses are monumental.
But tonight, finally, I can look at her photograph, which is now my computer desktop, and smile at the love and beauty and laughter she brought me. Her spirit lives in the memories I have, as Sandy so eloquently put it in her poem.
And maybe, as Diane said, when it is my time to go, she will be there to greet me, with that smile of hers — oh, yes, she smiled — and that wagging tail, and that gentle pawing she did when she wanted my attention. I am so very lucky to have had her share her joy with me for as long as she did.
Thank you, everyone, for your support these past three days, and I promise, more joyful — or at least factual — posts to follow. And thank you for allowing me to publicly express my grief in this blog.
And damn, I might have to post more about my other three dogs, too, and friends, and family, and music and art. You know, all the things that matter in life. It is just too short. Give a fur kid a hug for me, will ya’?