Monday, November 23, 2009

One Dog Afternoon

Perhaps there's more of a chill in the air lately.  Maybe the dog beds are starting to go flat.  Then again, it's possible that greyhounds really do pick up our emotions and feel loss more deeply than we sometimes give them credit for. 

Hawk's passing was the second time that we've experienced a loss as adult dog owners.  I lost childhood many animals in childhood as I grew up on a farm.  My husband lost his share of childhood pets as well.  When Treat was here, she was always on the couch with me.  Heaven forbid that the princess should ever lay on the floor.  After she passed away, Blueberry suddenly, very quietly placed herself in that spot on the couch.  She wasn't always touching me or near me, she could be content to hold the other end of the couch down while I sat in my spot on the other end, and even allowed me the space to stretch out my legs.  Hawk always viewed himself as my protector, but Blueberry seemed to sense that she had a role to play in my well-being, too.  As I reflect back on that time, I can recount a lot of things Blueberry began to do to try to watch out for me in her own way.  When Bunny arrived, who turned out to be very fond of snuggling, Blueberry sort of relinquished that spot, content that Bunny would fill in her own little niche.  Blue had also taken to sleeping on the bed at that time, but she seemed happy to go back to her fluffy bed on the floor when Bunny wanted to sleep on the bed.  Life went on and Blueberry seemed to decide that she'd go back to being my husband's girl.

Last week, I brought Hawk's ashes home.  It was a bit harder than I thought it would be. I am happy to have him home, where he belongs next to Treat, but it also made it final in a way that it was not before I picked up that box.  It's hard to believe that the life he led is reduced to such a light box of ashes and I admit that I have been thinking that over to a degree in quieter moments.

It was also when Bunny discovered that with Hawk not here, there's a big spot next to my husband on the floor under the quilt waiting for a hound.  She's like an addict when a quilt comes out.  She can't rest unless she's under the quilt.  I couldn't even bribe her to sit with me on the couch.  I admit, I was a little hurt by her defection.  My husband pointed out that she was just after the quilt, so I got my own quilt out, but still no snuggle puppy. 

Last night when I went to get in bed, I was surprised to find Blueberry curled up by my pillow.  I got in bed, and ran my fingers through her fur.  She has the softest fur of any greyhound I've ever met, and that's not just me being biased, people comment on it whenever they meet her, and it felt so nice to just touch her while I drifted off to sleep.  Usually, when she does get in our bed, she leaves when we come to bed, or just after we get all settled.  Last night was different, though.  She was still asleep with her butt on my pillow when I woke up this morning to Lilac's reveille, which was a nice surprise. 

This afternoon, she decided that I needed her companionship on the couch.  I know that she normally prefers to sleep on a dog bed where nobody will touch her, but on occasion, she does get on the couch, usually at the far end.  Today, though, it was her curled up against me, while my fingers sifted through that incredibly soft fur of hers.  She has the gift of being able to just be with you and make you feel more centered and content.  It was a nice afternoon spent with her beside me and then, after a while, she got up and left as if some signal had been sent.  No sooner did she get up and head off then Bunny was up on the couch beside me, curled up around my leg and making sure I knew she was here to snuggle.  Perhaps Blueberry knows a secret about Bunny that I don't, or perhaps she's just more perceptive than she usually lets us see. 

The saying that there's no better therapist in the world than a puppy is very true.  As life goes on this week, I find myself very thankful that I have three therapists who all tend to me in their own ways.  It's nice to be able to just reflect on the couch with a blanket and a dog.

Blueberry Types for the Blog


  1. I am so sorry. I didn't get to know Hawk but your post had me in tears. I don't believe there are words of wisdom, nothing to ease the emptiness, but you have support from your own pack. There's nothing like a furry unconditional hug. My hugs and thoughts to you and your pack. Hang in there...


  2. Amen about the canine ability to be a therapist. I understand how connected they are to our emotions, but it still surprises me when they are suddenly doing exactly what I need at some moment.

  3. didn't make me cry, but you're giving it a solid effort. And this is a tremendous post - one that I may share with others when they lose a pet. Having dogs in our home when we lost the last one made it a little more bearable. And a little more bearable can be just enough to get you through the worst of it.

    Then again, you just told us that. :)

  4. Feel free to share it! Having other dogs definitely does make things much easier.


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