Sometimes you meet someone new, and you just instantly know that you will be friends. You are not sure why, or what it is you have in common, but something flows between you that is almost effortless, and it is like a breath of fresh air in a world full of stifling pollution.
Usually it happens at “just the right time.” “Just when you need it most.” You may even feel “saved.”
Is Dog, God?
I’ve been seeking some sort of salvation my whole life. Mostly I want to be saved from being lonely. Lonely isn’t just a word, though; it is a big concept. It’s definition isn’t even vast until you start researching the synonyms… “godforsaken” is my favorite.
Godforsaken! It sounds pretty profound but it breaks down to “forlorn, desolate, miserable,” basically Emotional Shitsville in a country called Isolation.
I’ve come to accept that I don’t think like a mass majority of people, and that can be scary for both parties. Words are steeped in various meanings and history has shown that words are manipulated and it isn’t rare to rule with an Iron Fist. “A certain amount of violence is needed to keep them in line”- sort of mentality that I am way too familiar with.
I’ve written five chapters thus far. It’s time to talk about my failures as a human. My dog has been gone for 24 hours. I’ve been unable to censor myself online about this journey. The only thing I hope to gain from it, is a living record for myself and anyone who cares for whatever reason. I haven’t been perfect, and none of us are. Is a dog God with such unconditional love?
Have you ever just brushed someone away, and said, “No, not now?”
Or, maybe had a bad day and then poured all that anger on to an unsuspecting person?
Yeah. I do. I think that this is an unavoidable byproduct of life if you don’t become aware of it. One of the shittiest feelings in the world is when you know you harmed someone else.
In the beginning, both Claddagh and I had our own quirks. Her nervous behavior and my own anxiety would clash and being the dominate in the situation, sometimes I would take it out on her aggressively. The worst thing she ever did was chew on stuff that she shouldn’t and occasionally steal my food and coffee, if left unattended. I didn’t get mad a her about that stuff… I would express aggression toward her when other things were going wrong in my life, and she was in the wrong place at the wrong time.
One day I had a melt down and she really took the brunt of it. Afterward I felt so guilty and ashamed, so much so that I consulted friends about finding her a new home. I didn’t deserve her. That feeling never left me. I didn’t deserve her affection and love, because I did the one thing that you should never do, which is fly off the handle and harm someone you love. Somehow in that large heart of hers, she always forgave and came back to my side.
She was able to see the intangible sadness that had always existed in me. She knew that there was a certain sense of Godforsaken loneliness inside that she wouldn’t be able to fully fix for me, she was a willing “band-aid.”
That is the interesting thing about animals, their senses tell them so much about their world, yet they can’t articulate the depth of their experience to us in ways that we can relate. So we find middle ground that makes us both feel good. That was the goal anyway, so any deviation from that goal feels like devastation.
I’d like to say that I never got mad at Claddagh again, but incidences did arise. I was never as aggressive with her again, as the time I thought I should re-home her but that didn’t matter. I hated expressing anger at her because I knew above all that she was just a pure spirit.
Today was day two of waking up without her. I slept in until noon just to avoid the reality and because writing all of this out and drinking vodka is very tiresome. I still want to cry but I feel resistance. My eyes go through patches of cloudiness that I can’t seem to rub away. I know I am dehydrated. I just want my dog.
Here are some weird facts about my Claddagh;
1.) She never, ever would shit on the trail. She would always find a place off trail to do her business, and I thought that was super respectable.
2.) She never once peed or pooped in the house. Not one accident like that.
3.) One time she got sick in my car, she purposely puked in the removable cup holder. Another time she got sick in the barn loft and made sure to puke on the tile and not on the carpet.
If a dog could be considerate, I think that these three facts really represent that about her. She knew that I could get into stressful states, and it’s like she did everything she could to not make that worse in me. She knew that if she stayed out of the way, that I would come to her in defeat and just hold her and cry.
It took a while for us to learn that in each other. When to walk away, to calm down so that everything could be handled with more patience and decorum. No doubt these are useful attributes with all living beings, and Claddagh held space for me to work on cultivating those traits.
In twenty four hours, I am missing attributes Claddagh had that I took for granted; from catching pesky flies and mosquitoes, to not helping me finish the last quarter of the hamburger… just weird small things you don’t think much about. Last night I was eaten up by bugs, and I made myself sick by finishing the last of the burger because it seemed somehow wrong to throw it into the trash. I just sat looking back and forth and the burger and the empty spot on the floor where Claddagh would be patiently waiting for her portion.
She could have food sitting in her bowl all day, and yet she would wait to eat until I was eating. I wish I was as good of a human, as she was as a dog.