I was a dog owner for just short of eleven years. I’ve lived a decade immersed in that mentality. Where I go, my dog goes. If my dog isn’t welcome, I probably don’t want to be there. I ditched out on parties early, avoided certain places all together, all for the sake of companionship.
Sometimes Claddagh would hang out in the car if I wanted to make an appearance at some event where she either wasn’t welcome, or I knew would have too many dogs and give her anxiety. I would pop out every half hour and spend about fifteen minutes with her, eventually, most times cashing out early and going home. Every once in a while it would be a late night in good company in calm environments with people who adored her and her dog friends around. Those were the good ole days.
I knew I had to be friends with the people who had dogs that got along well with Claddagh. Introductions were always the most awkward for her. Dog protocol is all about the butt sniff. Claddagh wasn’t having it. Anytime a new dog got near her posterior she would growl, effectively telling them to “fuck off. ” If the dog interested in her, could let the desire to sniff go for the amount of time it would take for Claddagh to get comfortable, they could then get close enough to take some sniffs and walk away to give her space before doing another cruise by.
Claddagh always had anal gland issues, though they seemed to be less bothersome in our last two years that were dominated by a diet change. I wonder if she was insecure because of the glandular build up. Maybe it was just sore. In the beginning I thought maybe she had been tapped by another dog and there was trauma there, but that could just be my wild imagination.
It’s strange to think that we surround ourselves with living beings, daily, and yet we don’t really give them much thought once we get comfortable with their presence especially when we just trust in the routine of life.
I can’t focus on thinking about anything but my life with Claddagh, right now. I go to distract myself with topics I generally find interesting and they have no allure. An emotional cord has been ripped from my chest and I wonder how I will ever be able to fill the obvious hole in my heart. I don’t want another dog. I want my dog.
I am something different than I was two days ago. Now I am “dogless.” It feels wrong. So much of my personal identity was shared with this companion animal. I am caught at an emotional crossroads that I’ve been to before. Do I shut myself down and wall myself off as I have in so many human relationships, or do I see this as an opportunity to grow and change and to better understand and appreciate the various wavelengths that love can exist within?
I’d like to to believe I will follow the latter. I suppose I need to explore what this means for my human relationships. Obviously the depth that I feel about this situation can not be ignored and I think that my willingness to dive those depths can be intimidating to the humans around me.
See, even though I am making this outpouring about a dog, these feelings are universal with any sort of significant loss. We come from a history of people distracting themselves from their pain, and I find pain unavoidable. I always have, but I believe in the Spirit of things and that Spirit always reminds me that everything is temporary and that things can always get better but one must have a willingness to believe that Truth in order to take advantage of it’s reality.
Claddagh brought to my life more depth than can ever be articulated. We didn’t need words because our souls were in constant conversation. My writing was able to take on even more depth because of Claddagh being there as an influence in my perception of the world, and because it was amazing to try and imagine the world through her eyes specifically when she was at play in nature, or when she would just stare at me for minutes on end.
She was a reflection of my soul. My soul mate. It seems rare to find anything or anyone in the world that you would want to covet forever. I am hopeful that I won’t have to wait another twenty-seven years to begin another journey like I had with Claddagh. I am hopeful that the depths of whatever is to be, extends ever further than I could dream or imagine.
I think if you really love and adore someone, you should consider taking on their best attributes. If I were to take on the best attributes of Claddagh, I would be more excited for everything that life has to offer. I would make each person I am with, feel like the most important person in the room by giving them my undivided attention. I would wait to eat more meals with company. I would go for a ride for no good reason more often especially if someone just wanted the company.
My life over the last six years has become quite isolating, and Claddagh took the brunt of that. We went from fairly nomadic to completely stagnant. Over the six years I just slowly stopped doing the things that we enjoyed most together because nature seemed so far away. We aged and got lazy and uncomfortably comfortable together. But, we were together, every single day.
What a great partner. What an amazing friend.