It’s kind of strange to write this one sided history of a relationship with an animal who can’t speak for themselves… but I have to do it. The loneliness is amplified right now. No one can do anything for me… I have to just sit with this broken heart and try and make something beautiful out of it. Honestly, I don’t know how to handle this any other way. I’d love to go to the mountains right now, and to write on pen and paper there… but the timing isn’t quite right on that move.
Claddagh and I explored Colorado; Oregon, California, Utah, Nevada and Wyoming. We drove thousands of miles, paw in hand down highways and sideways. We hiked, climbed, snow shoed, snow boarded, boated and played in water together. She saw beaches, mountains, forests and cities. We were quite nomadic in the first half of our relationship.
Claddagh was lucky enough to know what mountain living, farm living and comfort were all about.
I know it’s cliche to think you have the perfect dog… but I really did. And if a dog can get even more perfect, she did. Even when I thought there was no way that I was good enough for her, she stuck by with love.
When I got her, I quickly realized she had separation anxiety. I couldn’t leave her at my friends house because she took to eating shoes. So I brought her to work with me everyday through the winter, I padded the back seat with blankets and her toy and on my breaks I would take her out for a walk and a pee. Generally my shifts were 6am to noon, and Claddagh was fine in the car. The car became her sanctuary. The safe space when I wasn’t around.
When the weather was warmer Claddagh would stay corralled in the cafe patio area with shade, water and friendly patrons who slipped her bacon. I would come out for a smoke and take her for a jaunt and go back to work. She was always around.
Right now I feel lost, and honestly I felt lost before Claddagh came into my life, but she gave my life some extra purpose in care and attention. The feeling was mutual. I feel extra lost today. And if I am honest with myself, this feels like a small rock falling that is about to initiate an avalanche.
Claddagh and I always had a strong psychic bond. I could know what she was thinking and vise versa. I’ve paid attention to the script in life, and whenever you lose a pet, it signifies the end of a chapter, which means anything can happen on the next page. Claddagh came to me on just little past a New Moon, and she left on a Full Moon, twelve years and one month to the day of my brother’s passing. These things are personally significant and probably tell more about the specific script I was born into. In my opinion, nothing is happenstance, that isn’t how I live.
My friend brought me a burger. It almost makes me sick to eat it, because I know I can’t share it with my buddy. This observation increases the feeling of pressure on my own chest. I look to see her, and she isn’t there.
There is a hole in my room where her bed use to be, there is a hole in my heart amplified by time and focus. I’m writing words to try and fill the void, while avoiding the question. ” What next?”
I do. Everything does work out. I didn’t have to watch her suffer. I didn’t have to drown in debt for hopeful solutions to a problem that only (maybe) could be prolonged a little while. Granted, none of this was ideal… but the way I see it, the way it went down is kind of a gift.
When Claddagh and I first met, I laid down some guidelines.
1.) Don’t run away or try to cross streets by yourself. Dogs are notorious for not looking both ways, and it’s your own damn fault if you get hit by a car. So stay with me.
2.) I am your home. I am going to work at keeping you safe… so like I said, don’t run away and try to cross streets.
3.) Don’t eat my food unless I give it to you and stay out of garbage… being sick sucks for both of us.
4.) I love you, and I hear you, please listen to me, I want to keep you safe, we are a team.
Honestly, like any animal large or small, she tested those guidelines, and she became a better dog for it. She found herself in some unexpected circumstances, and I had to have faith she would end up back home. And she did end up home, every single time. Never seriously injured, maybe a little traumatized. By last month, she was acting like an old timer going on a joy ride when she ended up at the Shelter for a whopping twenty four minutes. I am guessing whoever kept her for the night made her stay, worthwhile.
Claddagh was an empathic dog. Probably all dogs are empathic, but for Claddagh it was a lifestyle. I tend to be the same way, and so we were support systems of both ends. I didn’t get jealous when she would share her love, and she never got mad at me for sloppily trying to work my own personal shit out. It was a “I know who I go home with every night” kind of situation. I’d put a human friend in the back seat of my car, if Claddagh wanted to ride shot gun. It was kind of “ride or die for love” mentality. I don’t regret it one bit… even the shitty parts.
Life together required adaptation, and Claddagh took all of it in stride, and in so doing, she was able to have some interesting experiences by my side. She even went on a few adventures of her own… but that is for another chapter.