Friday, July 9, 2010
The heat broke today. The air remains a bit thick, but the breeze is off the lake and holds the promise of a cooler night.
On Facebook I read that a friend's elderly dog died today. They'd been together fifteen or sixteen years, done obedience and therapy work, comforting the ill and encouraging children to read aloud. Their partnership was legendary. Just recently they'd had a health scare, but were given the precious gift of a few more weeks together.
My dogs each got a walk this evening, something we have not done in a week or more. On returning home I heard that a friend's 7 month old puppy was hit by a car and killed earlier this week. He'd been such a joy, so full of promise. Struck in front of their house. She said she's spent the past two days curled in a ball, apologizing to him.
We take on such responsibility when we bring a dog into our lives. As domestics they cannot feed themselves, or groom much on their own. They work to fit into our world. Truly domestic -- they serve our needs. And the biggest need they serve is our need to have someone to love.
It's the pact we enter into. Let me love you and I will feed you. Let me love you and I will take you to the park, and for car rides. Let me love you and I will throw the ball. Tangible gifts. But we can't say let me love you and I will protect you from all danger and keep you with me forever. Because that is not possible. We cannot make that pact with dog, nor man.
And sadly, we are reminded throughout life that this pact may never be entered. The strongest, healthiest dogs live only fifteen or sixteen years with luck. But disease or accidents take them much younger. Despite the love. The tremendous love we use to envelop them, our beloved dogs, and hold them close.
Oskar had a cancerous growth removed earlier this week. We did not know it was malignant until after the surgery. Now we must watch and wait to see if it returns. He will be twelve in a few weeks. Each evening now I find myself saying to him, let me love you one more day, and I will brush you gently. Let me love you one more day, and I will take you for a walk. Let me love you one more day and we will sing Suppertime.
And for now, he lets me love him.
Addendum. Click here to see a lovely tribute to Shandy, my friend who lived 16 great years.