In May of 2011, my big dog took his final trip. His name was Dan, Danny, Danielson, Danel, Daniel, DippyDoo, and Big Dog. I found Dan at a shelter. He was 6 weeks old and had extra-big sized feet to grow in to. I knew as soon as I saw him that he was a Dane, but the shelter said he was a Shetland Sheepdog. His was a mutt combination that would make him a big lug who liked to herd his humans. And other dogs. And the cat.
That mutt combination kept him alive for thirteen years. After thirteen years, Danny and I were woven together like a blackbird’s nest in cattails. He was there through three schools, and four states, and two divorces. He was my rock, my constant, my always. Inextricable. Unseparable. Bound together. And him leaving left a massive, gaping hole in my life.
For the first days and weeks after his death, I filled that hole with crying. Ragged, outloud, ugly crying. I’d always thought that getting grief out would make me feel better but this crying only left me tired and raw.
And then I got mad. I was mad because I saw life was continuing on. My life was continuing on. I still had work, I still had relationships, I still had sleep, and food, and toiletries I had to deal with. I wanted it all to stop. I wanted to have the time to grieve. I wanted as much time as it took to honor a life that deserved to be honored. And most everyone I knew did not agree, did not understand, did not weep with me.
And then a day passed when I did not cry. And another day when I remembered some silly Dannyism and I laughed outloud.
Someday I’ll make it to California with a portion of Danny’s ashes. Dan loved the beach. He loved running in the sand and pooping in the sand. He loved chasing seasgulls or just standing with the sea wind in his face. I know he loved it because he always wanted to go and never wanted to leave. He smiled when he was on the beach; that big dog, dopey grin.
I miss him every single day; always will.
Long live the big dogs,
Doc Holliday is putting in his two cents. Bark, bark, bark and his trademark “Oh my gosh, I really want a little squirrel nibble” whine as he looks out the window at the front yard. The barks are ear shattering and a little bit earth shattering in their magnitude but I choose not to join in with my own kind of barking. Let him bark, I say.
It’s appropriate that he’s getting a say in the inception of this blog; his furry face will be one of the stars. Other critters will have recurrent roles: my big dog, Danny, who passed in May of 2011, my big horse, Sylas, who’s snazzing up winter-brown pastures as I write, and the various dogs, cats, and horses I have the pleasure of knowing.
This blog will be about animals, and about loving them, and about the humans that love them. Sometimes it will be about the bad people that hate them and do bad things to them and how much I want them to disappear. Sometimes it will be about the problems that inevitably come up when critters and humans make their homes together.
Mostly it will be about relationships-those with animals and those with humans. We all have them and often they are messy and difficult and painful, but necessary. Maybe my musings and struggles and epiphanies will inspire someone, or help someone, or maybe just entertain for a minute. I’ve loved and lost and found and saw and seen much that will be of importance to someone, somewhere, in some time and some way.
Regardless of why you are here, welcome, and I hope you will find something meaningful to take away.
Long live the big dogs,