A Different Kind of Coming Home


Toby is growing up. Soon he will be able to sleep through the night without my having to take him outside for a stroll around the yard at 2:00am where he spends as much time picking up sticks and chewing soggy acorns than what we go out for in the first place. 

Only three weeks ago, Toby was in the shelter where I volunteer. He knew nothing about walking politely on leash, or sitting when asked or “down” or “stay,” which he can do now (most of the time).  He didn’t know from cats (HE DOES NOW) or peanut butter kongs,  baths or fuzzy towels rubbing him dry.

I have learned some things too.  I know where the screech owl roosts in our back yard when it calls in the night and how many wild bunnies dine among the scraggly rosebushes. I know the secret route of the deer band as they graze their way among the neighborhood hosta gardens. I know which neighbors leave their homes at 5:30, 6:00, 6:30, 7:00am.

The musty scent of earth on a midsummer dawn is once again mine to breath.  The pure animal smell of wet dog fur permeates the garage where Toby is dried off from the rain and the clothesline downstairs sports a colorful array of old towels in various stages of drying. I vacuum more often now and just ordered a Dysan machine with the special pet hair pickup tool. I don’t leave the house without dog treats in one pocket and a plastic bag in the other.

I am also reminded of the exuberant welcome at the end of a workday, no matter how lousy the day may have been.  An uncontrollable tail wag at the prospect of a ride in the car, the vicarious excitement I feel when Toby rips at top speed through the yard for the sheer joy of motion.

It has taken ten months of experience at volunteering at the shelter every weekend to turn me back once again into being owned by a dog and to living life differently. Getting hot and sweaty and dirty (and liking it) being drenched in a summer rain, getting slimed by a puppy tongue. These are the things worth living for—not big yards or accomplished wardrobes or fancy electronics that never notice when I walk in the door.
I am grateful to have finally returned home.
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9 Responses to A Different Kind of Coming Home

  1. I've got to say he's one of the cutest little guys I've ever seen. You're absolutely right about everything you've said in your post. There is nothing like coming home to a wagging tail and the excitement of puppy/doggie kisses. I'm so happy for you and Toby that you have found each other.

  2. dAwN says:

    Sweet Pup! Looks like you both have learned and loved allot in your short time together..May you have many years of puppy love.

  3. So wonderful! Thanks for sharing your new journey w/ the pup. He looks like such a love!

  4. Being owned by a pet is surely one of life's greatest pleasures. So glad you found one another!

  5. Congratulations, Diane. Toby is beautiful and it sounds as if your life is good.

  6. dlg says:

    I'm reminded of when my son was born…of the subtle and unexpected ways in which his arrival impacted my life. Your appreciation of the many ways in which Toby is adding magic to your world raises goosebumps!

  7. We are totally living in parallel universes! I love your description of puppyhood and its joys, and Stella should meet your little guy someday. He is so cute and there's nothing like those puppy kisses. Enjoy! Hugs to both of you from me and Stella.

  8. Hi DJ,
    Haven't heard from you in a while. Hope all is going well with the new pup.

    There's an award waiting for you at my blog.

  9. Hope your little guy is doing well. He must be getting so big.

    Thanks for leaving a comment and asking how I'm doing. I'm getting there, just a little sore still. But this too shall pass. I appreciate the concern, you're a good person, thanks again.

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