On Wiggly Mutts and Puppy Butts
I had a dog.
I’ve pretty much always had a dog.
First, there was Muffin.
Muffin had a white triangle on her head.
She was a gift to my brother right before I was born, undoubtedly intended to lessen the blow of the impending realization that there’s going to be a baby in the house. And a baby might mean people sometimes forget about my brother, the non-baby, but that’s okay because they gave him a puppy.
Muffin looooved Joel.
But she loved me, too.
Thirteen years later, Muffin died in my arms.
Soon after came Lexie and Beemer, named after 2 cars my parents wanted but would likely never own.
Mom, Beemer & Lexie
If you ask me, the dogs were better than the cars.
I missed them when I moved away from home, but they always remembered me when I came back. No matter how long it had been.
Over time, the homes changed. The people in them changed. But the dogs were always there. Beemer, with his incessant need to Fetch! and Lexie, nibbling my hair by way of greeting.
Earlier this week, Beemer got sick. Ed and my mom took him to the vet, but they didn’t take him home. They had to do what people sometimes need to do when they own a dog. When they love a dog.
They had to say goodbye.
I said goodbye too, on the phone, trying desperately to keep my voice from catching on the lump that had lodged itself deep inside my throat. They said his eyes lit up. He heard me. He knew me. And when I hung up, I lost it but good. Big, ugly sobs producing big, ugly tears. That horrifically hideous cry that comes when you don’t care what it’s doing to your body, because all that matters right in that moment is the need of your soul.
And that need is release. To grieve. In waves with each new realization:
I’ll never throw him a frisbee again.
I’ll never again bury my face in his fur.
More ugly sobs.
I’ll never get to see his entire butt wiggle with excitement when I give him a treat.
There isn’t enough tissue in the world, sometimes.
My dogs came to comfort me that night, nuzzling into my sides and laying their heads in my lap. And the grief crested again, when I realized this probably wouldn’t be the last time I’d have to feel this way.
I’m not sure it’s wise to admit how much that furball affected me. And I’m sorry if I’ve made you sad this morning or if I’m only confirming the fact that I’m crazy.
If you’ve never known the undying adoration of a dog, I wouldn’t expect you to understand.
They just get in.
And when they do, they don’t ever really leave.
I’m gonna miss you, Beemer-butt. You always made me happy.
And I hope that wherever you are, the peanut butter is plentiful and the frisbees never stop flying.