Dogs I Have Loved
In the past decade of my life, dogs have become very important to me. When I defied my former husband to adopt the love of my life, now an eleven-year old snoring softly at my feet as I type, I did not know what a strategic, or inspired, decision that would be. If I could give any piece of advice to a woman about to undergo a divorce, it would be to get a dog and hold on tight.
My dog has traveled with me from his birthplace, in Montana, to Oregon, to Idaho, back to Montana, and now, to New Mexico.
My big boy has made himself immediately at home in the city, the forest, the mountains, and the desert; in snowy mountain fortresses, on the streets of San Francisco, and at an Earthship in Taos. But I know he is most at home on the sheltered beaches of Albuquerque’s Rio Grande Bosque where he can swim in the silty water and run in the sand, while cranes call in the distance.
After many years of wandering, I’ve found myself in a stable place at last, where we’ve both made friends we can howl with. Trust me on this, I’m happy to be here and so is he. We’re so happy that we’ve finally decided to open our home and hearts to another dog. Well, I have — he’s still getting used to the idea.
In early March, we welcomed Miss Isabella Bird — Little Bird — Birdie. If it sounds confusing, it’s because her personality is still developing. I’ve sometimes been known to call her “Rug-rat” when she’s eaten too many things that even a sharp-toothed puppy should not eat. “Why are pseudo-rawhide strips not enough?” I ask her on a daily basis, but she has no answer, and at a mere six months she’s a still short on introspection.
My new pup, a smallish shepherd-mix, is only six months old, and I’m approaching sixty-one. I believe in my heart that Miss Isabella Bird — Little Bird — Birdie is the last dog, and the only female, I will ever share my life with. But, somehow, this feels complete: Any dog that comes after my once-in-a-lifetime dog has very big paws to fill. But, for now, Rillo is still with me, and we are committed to bringing up our new pup together. Birdie will be a dog who digs with patience and skill, who does not bark overly much, and who comes when I call her, most of the time. Our girl has hearts on her cheeks and eyes the color of cognac — and one of us has fallen in love with her in a few short weeks.
How has your relationship with a dog changed your life? I’d love to hear.
“I think dogs are the most amazing creatures; they give unconditional love. For me, they are the role model for being alive.” — Gilda Radner