Tag Archives: dog friend

My Best Friend: Unsettled Awareness

I went for a walk today, obviously sans dog.  And something happened in my brain that I haven’t experienced in the decade I had walked with Claddagh.  I became aware of what other people may think about me, as I walk along, alone.

When I had Claddagh, our walks were interactive.  It was just her and me in the world.  I gave no thoughts to the perceptions of the individuals passing me in cars.  They only existed as obstacles in crossing the road, completely depersonalized inside their automobiles.

Occasionally someone might hoot out at me, grabbing my attention but mostly I would choose routes of alleyways and side streets without much traffic.

It’s a pretty straight shoot along a busy road to walk for a pack of smokes.   Dog-less the short trip is mind numbing.   I feel the cars pass, and I become extra aware of the expression on my face, my posture and gait.   I’m in this thought and I avoid eye contact with drivers.  I think about this solo jaunt and I’m sad and lonely.  I am sure my face has that “melancholy far off look.”

Each and every normal thing that I do, for the first time, again- without my friend, I make note of.

“This is the first time I have put gas in my car without Claddagh.”

“This is the fist time I am popping into Goodwill, real quick, without Claddagh.”

“This is the first time I am going through a Chick-fil-A drive through without Claddagh.  No one told me how cute she is and if she would like a dog treat.”

“This is the first time I am walking around downtown without Claddagh, and no one strikes up a conversation about her.”

This new internal narration doesn’t make a good movie. I am having a new conversation by myself with the world around me, and I am the only one who knows the inside jokes.

I was barked at by a squirrel for a good five minutes today.  Claddagh would have been amused.

When Claddagh and I would walk, I would try and see the world through her eyes and engage it that way.  The only time I would suspend this reality, would be on “athletic” jaunts where I would want to keep a steady pace and an elevated heart rate; other than that we would be as lackadaisical or as excited as she wanted to be while trying to maintain a lead that wouldn’t choke her.

It was only in the last year or so, that she was beginning to walk on leash like a well paced partner, no pulling forward for the lead. I was really starting to appreciate that shift in her maturity, but now I just think it may have been a side effect of her heart tumor.

If you are ever deciding to get a dog, get one that is young at heart and really foster that personality trait.  Much like people, they may age into later years and be mistaken for younger because of the youthful and playful nature they exude.  That is a precious energy to embody or be surrounded in.

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My Best Friend: 2 Days and 22 Hours

It is almost one month since I put Claddagh down.

That phrase is so gross to me; “Put them down.”

My dog was already a submissive… she was “put down” in many ways in her early life.  I am still disgusted at it all.

But, you know what?  I will only talk about it here.  I bombarded FB for the first two weeks with my pain… and now in modern decorum I will pretend it doesn’t rip me apart on the inside.  Oh, geez, am I following the steps of my forefathers, who chose to sweep inconvenient truths under the proverbial rug?

People don’t know how to mourn, these days.  Our fast paced society urges us to “get over it and move on” as quickly as possible.  We treat ourselves like processed food with defined expiration dates that serve as suggestions.  You might be cool eating an out of date yogurt at your own house, but if a host of some other house offers the same thing, you cringe.

“Keep it in house.”

See, I don’t feel like I am allowed to mourn my dog companion for more than a couple of weeks.  It isn’t allowed to break me, because their life expectancy is so much shorter than ours, and I should have known better.

I don’t feel like I can allow Claddagh to be the portal in which my previous pain, loss and suffering is filtered through.  I just don’t feel like I have permission to fully feel, even though people say “take your time” and “feel it fully.”

I don’t feel permission because I am always trying to integrate and get along, and no one likes a Debby Downer, or a Miserable Mandie.  I don’t feel permission because the extent of the pain is mine, alone to bare.

After day three, I told myself, “You HAVE to stop crying.  You HAVE to buck up.  No one cares as much as you do about it, and no one wants to hear about it.”

If you make it a mantra, I guess it makes it easier to adhere to, just through repetition.

If left to my own devices, I look out the door and say “All I really want is my dog.”  And I imagine what that looks like, only to further upset the state of my heart.

Honestly, I don’t care if I upset you if I end up crying in reminiscence of my dog; but because I am empathetic, and I know you don’t want to hear it, I will self censor.  I am not looking for your pity or sympathy…. I know you don’t know exactly what to say and it may be uncomfortable for you, that every topic you excavate leads back to me and my dog.

I am sure it is annoying, or at least uncomfortable.

I’m sorry, but I’m not.

I suppose if you don’t know what to do in the awkwardness, just smile.  Know that I experienced a facet of love in life that I would have otherwise avoided, and that in and of itself, is bound to make me a better person in the long run.

I know she wasn’t as interesting to you, as she was meaningful and profound to me, and that is okay… but try not to sweep her memory away in your urgency to bring me back to whatever you feel is your self perceived center.  I will take my time, and I require no rush on your end, for it will not bring any benefit.

She was “my girl”, ya know?  I don’t even know if I am allowed to use the same distinct whistle if I find a new dog friend… I feel bad for chiding my cats with her same belly rub rhyme.   Things are flowing into each other with my other animal friends,  where it once was distinct and individual.

And I liked that, ya know?  When her whistle was our whistle and not like any of the other whistles that were common for the other animals we mutually knew.

I kinda wish I got a Chilton manual on how to deal with this,or a “When your Dog Dies for Dummies” book,  even though I know, internally all I need to know.

Life cycles are beautiful, until you see the shame in loss.  My dog should have lived forever… I mean, that is how I feel. I never thought about getting another one, even though at times I thought about re-homing her due to my own personality flaws.

I’m looking at rescue dogs, trying to find a face I recognize.  Not Claddaghs’ face, per say… just a face that feels familiar in the rustic part of my being that is perfectly adapted to animal companionship.  I know it will happen when it is meant to… if it is meant to.

No worries here.  I just miss her so damn much and rightly so.

 

My Best Friend: Just When I Was Getting Comfortable

I felt sick as a dog on the night of September 11th.  I was waking up hourly to empty my liquid bowels.  Standing up made me nauseous and I was afraid I was going to shit down my own legs.  I figured maybe it was one of the eggs I put into my dinner omelet.

The cats weren’t helping.  They wanted to lay on my stomach, causing me more discomfort.  I just wanted to sleep it off.

The 11th rolled into the 12, and I tried to go about my normal routine, but I wasn’t feeling normal at all.  My uncle came over to help out my grandma and I tried to sleep the day away, but was reawakened every hour or two by demanding felines.

I slipped in and out of dream space.

The woman accuses me of being an escort because I have a stack of cash.  I tell her I just sold my truck.  She also accuses me of having fake “air inflated” breasts.  I tell her that “that isn’t at all true.  I got fat and lost some weight and now I have stretch marks.”

Other strange thoughts invade my mind as I toss and turn.

I just don’t want to feel this way anymore.  I just want to sleep for 24 hours straight.  I just want to be taken care of because I don’t have the energy right now to care at all. 

I wake up early on September 13th.  I go to my Facebook feed.  There she is in my memories.  My fur buddy’s 10th Doggaversary.  Today would have been our 11th.

See just when I was settling into the idea that I no longer have to fill her water and food bowls, I am reminded of how far we went, and how close we came to 11.  I think about how, we would celebrate together since my birthday is so close to the day we found each other.

I realize, it wasn’t the eggs that made me sick; it was knowing that I would have to wake up on the 13th and deal with a new slew of emotions.  And that settling into emotions is much like the settling of sand which can be moved by a breeze, or a wash of water, dried out by the sun and stepped on, only to be encrusted into the indentations of some passerby’s shoes and transported to places unseen.

I’d like to not have to do anything for a while, so that I can just sleep if I want to sleep and dream these weird dreams, hoping we eventually reunite in that dreamspace for a little bit.  And, see I know I can’t tarry there long, but I would still like the opportunity, nonetheless.