Friday, September 23, 2005

Time In a Bottle

When really sad, one should go out to eat and fly kites. We did exactly that on Wednesday. Doug, Jess and I went to eat on the river in Haverhill and came home to meet Geoff. We then took the kites and went over to Salisbury beach reservation and flew for the first time since our Outer Banks trip.

geoff kite

As we were flying kites, I realized how horribly badly I missed my dog. How he would love to be swimming there right then in the perfect sun and the perfect light and the perfect water. Suddenly, with the kites and the dogs and the sun, sand and time, I missed Aaron and wanted horribly desperately to talk with him and tell him how I felt about Kinger. I had no way to contact him, he hadn't called us yet with his phone and address, so there was nothing I could do but miss him and miss my dog.

We five who used to be six had a good time together, except for the dickwad on his cellphone 40 feet away from us swearing his ass off at whomever he was speaking to, which is a story that I'll save because I just don't have the energy to get into it and what I think about people on cellphones in public in general. That's a screed for its own entry.

We saw a wicked lovely sunset, our kites were well flown, and Jack had a little swim. It was a fabulous way to spend a late September evening.

sunset toothpick 2

Thursday morning I just didn't know what to do with Jack.

Jess left for school. Doug left for work. Geoff got on the bus, and I came back to the house to get my coffee and Jack was just sitting there. He hadn't eaten anything since sometime Tuesday. His dish sat there full and waiting. He sat by the door and just looked at me with those little brown eyes, and the end of his tail gently flicked back and forth.

I couldn't leave him here alone. And I just started crying my eyes out. He's never been in this house alone. Kinger has always been here with him. Even when Jack spent full days in his kennel (which was up until about this past spring) Kinger would always spend his day lounging on the floor right in front of the kennel door. When we started leaving Jack out during the day, he would lie on Doug's side of the bed, Kinger would occupy mine, and the two of them would just watch the squirrels and the world as the day passed without their humans.

They were partners in crime, they were pals. And now. What's he supposed to do? Who's ass is he supposed to lean against on the bed? Leaving him alone, in my mind, wasn't quite fair.

So I brought him to work and he spent the day with me. He got some huge love from M and D the new guy, and for the most part didn't bother anyone else or bark or do anything obtrusive and annoying. He was the perfect office friend. And I'll do it again when my heart feels like it can't go on.

I stopped with him at the pet store and we bought some goodies on the way home. As we were walking around the pet store, Jim Croce's "Time in a Bottle" came on the in-store media and I walked around crying, with my boy on his leash beside me. I must have looked like an ass, but jeesh if that song didn't just rip my heart out and throw it against the squeeky toys in aisle two.

When I got here Thursday night there was a message from Aaron with his phone number and everything. So I got to call my buddy and tell him about my dog. We talked of the good Kinger memories and what to do with Jack, and how the rest of the brood is handling it, most notably Jessica. It felt good to talk to him, and he was really just the right voice I needed to hear.

Today, driving to work was incredibly hard. I almost turned around and came home when I was just about to the office. I'm glad I went in -- we had a birthday lunch and a bunch of food and good laughs and it was just wonderful. And now I'm ready for bed.

Thank you guys for your nice comments, and thank you to folks who sent me the Rainbow Bridge story. More than one of you felt it important to share it, and I appreciate it. It's one I've been familiar with for a long time, and I felt it deeply in 2001 when we put Missy down. I have thought about giving it to Jessica but I think it will send her into a crying jag for days and she's finally not crying.

She tried to wear his collar to school on Thursday and I wouldn't let her. Not because I doubt her love and adoration and want to take away from how she processes and grieves, but because middle school kids are the biggest dicks on earth, and all she needs is to have one stupid jackass go "hey stupidass, what's with that collar, you a dog now? You want me to walk your fat ass?"

She might punch someone or flip out. I told her she could carry it. But she couldn't wear it. I emailed the ass't principal and asked her to check on Jess during the day to make sure she wasn't wearing it, and to talk to her about the appropriate way to grieve publicly.

If anyone has advice about this I'd appreciate it. Jack still has not eaten. He's hoovered up stuff we've dropped on the floor, but his full dog dish sits untouched, same with his water dish.

I was telling Aaron that Jack seems confused because he never eats first. Kinger always eats first, and Jack waits until he's done and then steps in and eats. We've always allowed our dogs to graze... to eat when they want to. Sometimes the dish is filled daily once or twice, sometimes it is half eaten and then the rest of it is finished the next day... they never ate just because food is there, like some dogs. Put food in front of it and it gets inhaled. I told Aaron that Jack knows he's not the Alpha dog. He knows he isn't even the Beta dog... hell, he's the Gamma dog in the pack... and right now, he doesn't know when it is his turn to eat.

Should I buy him new dishes? Will that help? I moved the food, thinking that if it was in a new place it would make him feel special and new... but that didn't help. I'm a little worried. I know we all grieve, and he most certainly has and will. I just am not sure what to do around this.

When Missy was put down, Kinger walked around looking for her and would whimper. But he ate. Jack, he looks around... he smells things... but he's not touching the food.

Well. Our lives go on. Jess is at K's house sleeping over tonight. Doug's asleep in front of BBC comedy night, and Geoff is reading his Bear Handbook for cub scouts up on his bed. We had his first den meeting tonight and it was utter chaos. I thought my head would explode. But there were three dogs there to love and pet and adore, and that made me happy.

And on that note, I have a dog that wants me to love and pet and adore him.

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