not too bright,
dear, gentle soul.
Dec. 2, 2007-June 17, 2022
Clara was the third dog on the scene when she joined our family in 2009. She was gangly and bouncy - could spring higher than my head until her knees blew out at age 7 or 8. She was a shameless crotch sniffer and loved to give what my daughter fondly calls "tooth hugs," charming to some, disconcerting to the uninitiated. She was fully comfortable in her own body, and somehow presented a daunting alpha presence to all other dogs without even raising a lip. She won all doggie tugs of war without even tugging. They'd just look at her and let go.
We often found her sprawled, spread eagle fashion, on the carpet, wriggling to scratch her back or just lying there, lips flopping back over her teeth, not an insecure bone in her body. I'm glad she was at ease with us; she certainly put me at ease.
When I was grieving or scattered or feeling lost, I'd kneel onto the floor beside her, lay my head against her warm, furry neck, slide my fingers over her velvety ears, and she'd lift her paw up onto my shoulder, another version of the Clara hug. Just thinking about it pulls a deep sigh from me. She put me at peace.
Now she is at peace, our last dog in a long, continuous crowd of them since 1983. No more painful heavings off the floor, no more stumbling outdoors to go pee. Her long stare told us it was time. How long will we last, dogless? That remains to be seen. For now, I will sit with my menagerie of dear old friends out by the pond, one grave newly dug. Their bodies fertilize the earth as their lives have fertilized our souls, and we will continue to feel the comfort of their simple, indomitable love.
Robin Clifford Wood is a writer and writing teacher. She lives in central Maine with her husband and dogs, loves to be outdoors, and enjoys ever-expanding horizons through her grown children and their multi-species families.