When I stopped by Nina’s Red Barn Farm at the Farmer’s Market this morning to buy eggs, Nina asked me about my blog. I miss your writing, she said.
I miss writing too, I wanted to say but made the “I have been busy” excuses, which is a catch-all for not doing something we do not want to do or else putting something aside we do want to do because it has neither monetary value nor social gain. In other words, you do it because you like to but it goes to the bottom of the list because doing something just because you like to seems frivolous.
It is also Thanksgiving and the annual launch into the holiday season, which for me is six weeks of melancholic pain. But I am not going to write about that. It only makes it worse. Besides, this year I have Toby, who is becoming my best buddy. When I think of going for a walk, I think of him coming with me. When I plan a trip, I think of him all cozy in the back seat of my car peeking over my shoulder.
But I have often second-guessed my decision to adopt a puppy. Volunteering at the shelter gave me both insight and information about the incoming dogs. It was my half-baked plan to adopt an older dog, one who was good with cats, housetrained and just looking for a scratch behind the ears, a languid walk around the block, a bowl of food and me. Not a puppy, especially a male. But when I saw that golden face leave its play partner in the shelter kennel and sit down to look at me—I mean, look at me, an arrow shot through my soul.
He’s yours if you want him, they said. We know he will have a good home.
I know that too, I thought smugly. He will have the best and most loving training too and soon he will be a happy, obedient dog, for who has known me for a long time who also did not know my DeeJay?
As you know, I brought him home, laid down house rules, set up his sleeping crate downstairs next to the door going to the great outdoor toilet and announced he would sleep there from now on, his being the dog and all. He did not need to be in our bedroom where our beloved cats lounged. I would also walk him A LOT as we could not afford to fence in our yard. This was a happy prospect to have company on my weekend jaunts and have a reason to carve out a daily walking schedule that would be part of my mental and physical fitness routine. We would play in the yard on a long line until he learned to come the second I called his name. Above all, he would NOT chase our precious cats. Never. I was eager and confident that in a year’s time, I would have a world-class obedient, happy, well adjusted dog who would become a super duper therapy dog and save the world!
Today, Toby sleeps upon a grand pillow in an even grander crate on the floor next to my side of the bed. In the den is an enormous foldout pen with another giant, foofy pillow which is where Toby lounges and walks around during the times we are not home. He only chases the cats about half the time. He comes when I call him some of the time but I have been told he will be almost two years old before that command will stick.
As of this weekend, a portion of our backyard is fenced in and we still can’t afford it. But my heart sings with joy when that golden body races around without the constant restraint of a leash and then runs up to me and sits next to my side as if there was no place else on earth he would rather be.
Here I need to stop and say how grateful I am that my dearest soulmate friend who shares my name has supported me every step of the way. From my worries about coccidia when I first brought him home to house training tips to remaining steady in my storms of ignorant anxiety, she has repeatedly guided me back to believing in myself. And through her, I met Betty Laurin, Rhode Island’s dog whisperer, a future post in OakintheSeed.
Believe in potential. It becomes reality.