Much is expected of a dog.
We are more than companion and friend. Much more than warmth at the end of the bed or laughter wrapped in fur.
We are asked to be counsel and sage, to hold our heads in such a way as to reflect confusion or sympathy, joy or curiosity. We must not be a nuisance yet playful when asked. We must come when called but also come when we’re needed — no words, no motion — just a desire yet unsaid.
We are the silent conversationalist, the affordable therapist, the moment in the day when the sigh finds release. We are unexpectedly silly, a model of patience, and a loving irritation.
Yes, much is expected of a dog and of late, I have felt the weight of my responsibilities.
First, there were the boarders, though I don’t like to call them that since, in fact, Monty and Quillette are my dearest friends. I shared my beds (yes, I have more than one in the house), I shared my treats, and most importantly, I shared my family who loved and massaged my friends just as they do me.
Then there were our clients — Rosie, Tyson, Roux, Monty, and Paige. But again, my connection to them is much more than a business transaction.
They are my teachers, my friends, my playmates, and members of my extended pack.
Then there is my family –immediate and extended — who send me emails of love and woofs, who comment on my silly smirk, and who give me gifts like knuckle bones and homemade treats. My paws grow weary from all the correspondences –typing without thumbs my inner most thoughts and my devotion to each and everyone of them.
It is no wonder that, as 2012 unfolds, I find myself breathing in then out a most tired pause and licking the quiet exhaustion of my weary paws.
I am not unhappy. On the contrary. My life is so full I find it difficult to contain my happiness. I often roll on the ground trying to take in the immensity of my joy — as wide as the sky. Still, happiness can be exhausting and I find myself seeking the warm corner of the couch or the surety of my place under the desk.
And now, it appears, we are opening our hearts and our home to another new friend — Max. I have been assured that he is going to be with us for only a short while (two months), but that during that time, my responsibilities will expand. You can read about Max’s full story here and in the coming weeks, read updates about him as well on our blog in the coming weeks.
Today, Sunday, we are going to travel to Vashon Island where he currently lives and pick him up — all Great Pyrenees/Lab bulk of him though he’s really quite skinny and bony for such a big breed. But we, like his current foster family, hope to put weight on him, strengthen his muscles and teach him to walk more smoothly and confidently. I think it’s going to be an uphill battle. Max has such a long, long road ahead of him.
Still, I’m willing to try. I’m willing to open my home (and my heart) to this sweet fellow and do my part to undo the damage of his past, the neglect of his previous life, and the scars that are left on his body and his heart.
So much is expected of a dog. Max is, perhaps, my biggest challenge of all.
Big sigh. Deep breath. One paw, then another.
Let’s begin climbing the mountain.