Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Because of a Brown Dog

I remember the weight of your fat belly in my hands, and the velvety soft of your ears and nose. And the puppy breath, but never the teeth. You were never a chewer- just one of the many things that set you apart from the rest.

From the beginning, you had your master. You loved him best, and you respected him most. 

And then there was me, maybe half mother, half sister- you respected me almost none but I think that’s why we had a little more fun. Where you were always aware of your place with your master, you were very rarely so with me. Many times you made your 90lb self very comfortable directly on top of me. A not-so-silent brown shadow who followed my every move.

There was a time when my belly grew big and I had to go away for a while. You visited me outside this new place and walked along my wheelchair. You brought normal to its very opposite.

When I came home everything was different. Your master had to go back to work and so you were left to stand guard. We moved from room to room, me crying, your eyes worrying and tail thumping. You never left me.

Eventually my belly grew big again and this time we brought home something new. You were not impressed.

One day your master set this newest loud creature on top of you. You let out one of your loudest sighs and gave a resigned thump of your tail. 

From that day your role in the family was a little more in the background. But as the little creature grew bigger (and unbelievably, louder) I would occasionally find the two of you curled together. Her feet using you use the worlds most dependable step stool, her head on the warmest pillow.

By the time he came into the picture you were fully on board. You withstood tail pulling and hair grabbing with a full-on doggy grin. These were your people and you loved them with your whole heart. 

Yesterday was your last day with us. You and I took one last ride over the bridge, air blasting and windows down. Even though you did not feel good you loved the wind blowing in your ears. We did not discuss that time I accidentally rolled your head up in the window and then panicked before I could get it out. We just played some good tunes and smiled at each other in the rear view mirror.

You got to say goodbye with your head in your master’s lap, exactly where I know you would want to be.

What I hope you know, 

Is that we know how to love unconditionally

We know how to go to the bathroom with someone watching our every move

We know how a warm body after a hard day makes all the difference

We know how to sleep through one choosing to groom himself directly beside our bed

We know how to forgive

We know how to keep going

We know, really, how to be a family

All because of a brown dog.

We love you Dock Brown. Always and forever, buddy.