Funny Finn.

Our family friend’s, Jimmy and Abby, have a Golden Retriever named Finn.  Finn is adorable and sensitive. He’s a lover, not a fighter.  On a recent outing, Abby and Finn went to a dog park.  Another dog walked up to a lounging Finn and the unimaginable happened.  This other dog pee’d on Finn’s face.  Finn, although confused and emotionally wounded, was gentle and understanding.  Abby watched in horror. I think that moment might always haunt her.  As much as this story makes me cringe, it also makes me laugh.  Dogs teach us to find the humor in otherwise unfortunate situations.

Yesterday, Abby posted this update about Finn on Facebook:  “Finn’s only contribution to the bad day was freezing in front of moving traffic (because he was afraid of a little girl’s pink tricycle) so that I literally had to pick up all 70 pounds of him (I hear this is a great idea when pregnant) and carry him to safety!”

Abby gets my vote for pet mom of the week!

Quiet.

I’ve mentioned before that I suffer from migraines.  I certainly don’t love this aspect of my life, but they come and go and I have learned to accept this plight.  The part I’m most grateful for is that I have family and friends who help me on days I cannot function (I literally go blind during some migraines) and I have a dog who embraces each and every migraine day.

As far as Melvin is concerned I stayed home on a glorious 75 degree March day to lay in bed with him all day.  He couldn’t be happier.

Duck Duck Goose.

Melvin and I went on a hike that included the tour guide (me) getting lost. Upon return home, I was exhausted. I walked in, took shoes off and thought a nice sit on the chaise would be the perfect end to a rather long weekend. 

Melvin had other plans for the chaise.  Those plans did not include me.

Tourist.

Melvin and I spent too much a lot of time in the car this weekend.  At each destination Melvin was treated to a walk, a hike and/or a meet and greet with a potential new four-legged brother or sister.

Halfway into our travels and Melvin finally figured out a way to lay down but still gaze out the window.  If only he’d learn to drive.

Memories.

Max was an awesome-ly wonderful dog.  He had a soulfulness about him that made me believe in zen. He was pure love and he stole my heart instantly. Others had come before Max, but he was the one that inspired me to always have a dog.

Max’s last year of life was a difficult one for me health wise.  I had two life threatening conditions, was in-and-out of the hospital, lived with my parents for a few a months and didn’t work for a year.  I had the love and support of the most wonderful family and friends.  But those of you with animals know, often times, the only living being you are with 24/7 is your pet.  When I was up at night unable to sleep, Max would lick my face.  When I was sick in the bathroom, he’d lay next to me.  When I would take short walks he’d move slowly and never complained when we had to turn around early. 

As I started healing, Max started losing his battle with old age. The universe can be very hurtful.  Many felt that he waited to know I was getting better.  That always made me sad.  But the truth is, I loved him and he loved me and life is what it is. Max crossed the rainbow bridge the day after his 12th birthday, just one week shy of a my one-year anniversary of surviving my first health crisis. 

I will not write about the sadness although I will say it consumed me.  I have never known heartache like that and the saying ‘grief is the price we pay for love’ had never rung more true for me.

I was reminded recently about a funny grieving story.  Yes, funny grieving stories exist, you just don’t know how comical they are at the time.  Coldplay’s “Til Kingdom Come” song was my go-to-sadness-song when Max died.  I played it 5,672 times.  To make it harder on myself, I’d imagine Max was singing the sentiment of the song to me (don’t judge!). I had it on in the car one day and was bawling.  Next thing I knew a policeman was pulling me over.  I felt really awful for him.  When he walked up to my window and looked in at me all he saw was a red, blotchy, weepy, snotty girl who was wearing sweats and slippers and could barely form words.  The best part is, he pulled me over for going too slowly.

After a brief exchange with him where I was able to explain “dog…died…song…sad…ugg slippers are technically shoes…” he looked at me with compassion and said, “I just lost my dog recently.  I understand.”  He let me sit and compose myself and suggested I not listen to the radio on the way home.

Support comes in rare forms. People understand.  Thank God.

Absence.

As mentioned in my last post, I left Melvin last week.  Ok fine, the day I departed was his birthday.  I felt terrible. (He had someone come stay with him, so to be honest, I’m not even sure he noticed I was gone).  On one hand, I come from a family that makes a very big deal out of birthdays. I’m blessed to even know when my rescue boy was born, most families that rescue aren’t so fortunate.  Even though Melvin did not know it was his birthday, I knew, so there was definitely some guilt.  On the other hand, we went to the Bahamas, to an Island called Paradise and it was sunny, 80-degrees and people brought us frozen drinks all day.  We saw movie stars, royalty and pro-football players.  I slept in, spent extreme quality time with my family, ate great food and shopped. 

When we were en route to our resort (about a 45 minute car ride) we saw so many dogs. Dogs running in packs, no collars, looking hungry and rough.  My first thought was that Melvin would not last a day in that environment.  My second thought was that those dogs running around had probably never known love.  My third, and most important thought was, spaying and neutering programs are so important.  I’m going to try to figure out how I can make a difference in that last area.

But for now, I’m back.  To ease the guilt of the birthday ditch, I’ll unpack his nemesis the suitcase quickly and put it away.  All he knows is when that thing is out, I tend to leave. He’s a dog, the return doesn’t matter if the enemy is still sitting there, mocking him.  Melvin seems somewhat happy to see me and will now start the ‘I’m-ignoring-you-for-leaving-me unless-you-have-food’ routine.  

This is how far he stayed from me yesterday.  For a dog who lives to be underfoot, this distance is significant.  And hurtful.