A true friend

“I had the best dog. But I still have the best friends!” me, 2/7/12, Facebook comment

For the first time since I was a year old, I won’t have a dog in the house. After nearly thirteen years, I put down my beloved Talula to rest yesterday, accompanied by my life partner, Blues, and our family veterinarian. Talula had had cancer for well over a year and we just couldn’t stand to watch her fade away slowly.

Dogs are great friends. They love unconditionally. They don’t cast judgment. They don’t engage in gossip. They don’t complain. They live in the moment and share joy with everyone they meet.

What I loved best about Talula was her genuine joie de vivre. A pit bull mix puppy found wandering in a bad Hayward neighborhood, she was always gentle and happy. Apart from my parents’ mellow Lab, Pinto, Talula was the sweetest dog I have ever known. I trusted her with my toddler. Her early experiences made her skittish but never aggressive or unpredictable.  She proved that she was more than a breed or a beginning.

During the painful process of putting Talula down, I asked Blues why humans aren’t more like dogs. Then last night, on the same social network that often makes me doubt who people really are, I was reassured that my oldest friends and some of my newest friends are loyal, trustworthy, and loving.  People, like dogs, have the potential and capacity to be authentic and selfless.

I will never forget my wonderful dog. She knew me before and after my recovery, before and after motherhood, and always gave me her heart.  While I grieve her absence, I rejoice in the peace of knowing she is at well-deserved rest.

Shoot me now, the dog owner edition

There is nothing like waking up to the overwhelming stench of skunk and bloodcurdling screeches. At first, I wanted to shake it off as one of my legendary crazy dreams but then I heard the jingling of dog tags and rustles in the bushes. Another yelp. I stepped into flipflops and scrambled in the linen closet for a working flashlight. Using the last of the AAAs, I rushed to the garage. Abandoned beds and blankets. I ran outside and called for them, my voice so loud in the stillness of my neighborhood and 6am predawn dark. Lucky rolling in the grass, a sure sign of a dead animal. I turned the light onto a familiar sight, my dog, my gentle, cuddly girl,Lu, now a hunter, covered in blood, her powerful jaws locked around the carcass. She gave the body vigorous shakes, unmoved by my pleas to come to me. I noticed the gash above her left eye and knew I couldn’t go back to bed. Muttering my favorite line, I grabbed several plastic bags and took the carcass away, careful to not look at the exposed innards. It was too heavy to wrap in the bags without covering myself in blood and viscera so I tossed it in a bucket and carried to the trash. Then I gave my dogs a sponge bath before returning indoors.

Oh what a beautiful morning.

Early morning mindfulness

from audio transcription, no specific date but sometime in September

I’ve been up for an hour now. It’s frustrating. The one plus is I can hear the dogs running around. I can hear them run past my window chasing something. When they shake themselves, I can hear their ears flapping and collars ringing.