To dog or not to dog?
That was the question.
Just now I looked back at the dates and saw that our dogless existence – after thirty-nine years of dogfulness – began almost exactly a year ago. Doglessness is a seductive condition. We slipped into its hypnosis for a long time, but then…
This August Jonathan and I will celebrate forty years of marriage. Forty years ago, on our way home from an 8-day honeymoon in New Brunswick, we found a starving puppy on the side of the road. After an hour or so of sleuthing in the neighborhood, we learned he was abandoned. In an exuberance of love and protectiveness, we impulsively decided to smuggle him over the border (I hope the statute of limitations on penalties has passed).
Brunswick lived to be sixteen. By the time he died, we’d long since adopted Ella, who was joined by Meg, then Guster, Kate, and Clara. When Clara died last June, our last dog, we had four new grandbabies on the horizon. “Let’s just wait a little bit,” we thought.
In a dogless life, you can be spontaneous. You don’t have to get up on Saturday morning to walk anybody. No tumbleweeds of dog hair under the couch. No noisy interruptions. No one pestering you to pay attention, get up, go out, rub my belly. You are free to remain lost in thought, in moodiness, in yourself. Hmm. We began to see the problem.
Daisy hasn’t been with us for a week yet, and we are tired, and we are happy. She is comic relief, a torrent of wriggly, twirly affection, demanding. Oh yes, she demands – that we not sink into a fog of brooding, that we pay attention, that we laugh and play and celebrate. We celebrate wonders like moths and tennis balls, tall grass and windows, sunbasking and dinnertime. We didn’t know what a hole we’d slipped into until she arrived and dragged us out on a leash.
Welcome, Daisy. And thank you.
Robin Clifford Wood is an award-winning author, poet, and writing teacher. She lives in central Maine with her husband, loves to be outdoors, and enjoys ever-expanding horizons through her children, grandchildren, and granddogs.