Little Pie Face,
Monday was our six month anniversary; can you believe that? You've been in our family for half a year, though to be honest I can't remember not loving you. It seems so entirely natural to have rearranged my whole life around you that I don't understand how I didn't feel like something was missing before. But you know, I was concerned recently because one of my readers anonymously told me that our relationship "weirded her out." I worried that maybe there was something wrong with me for loving you completely.
So I talked to my friends who have dogs - friends who would pay for vet visits before home repairs, friends who slept on air mattresses for days to be near their ill pets, friends who plan evenings out and weekends away to accomodate their dogs' routines - and I thought that maybe actually I wasn't so strange. (If I was, at least I wasn't alone.) Then I read the letter that Fiona Apple wrote to her fans about her cancelled tour and the blog post that Neil Gaiman published after the death of his dog. And I cried for them and I felt truly heartbroken for my anonymous reader because she probably doesn't know what it's like to have someone like you.
I've talked about you on this blog before, Sir Charles, when I shared our "Hey, It's Okay" confessions and when I wrote about Adopt a Shelter Dog Month and a few other times over the summer (here and here, especially) when you were still new to us and we were still figuring each other out. Now we've got each other sussed. You know that all you have to do is love me with your nose-crinkling smile and your frenzied tail-wags and your snuffling kisses and I'll bend over backwards to make up for the 16 months of your life when we didn't have you.
You deserve it, I think. After all, you're mostly a good boy. We're still working on Get Off The Counter but I do realize that it's my fault if I leave something tempting out and it gets eaten. No Jumping On People is a work in progress but I understand that sometimes you just need to be as close to us as possible. Don't Leap Over The Fence is... well, we totally failed at that one, which is why we're getting a new and higher fence around the backyard. But you do sit and stay and come when we ask you to - unless there are rabbits and squirrels around, in which case all bets are off. You don't make too much noise - except when you bark nobly to protect us from the Invisible Intruder or you grumble conversationally just to make sure we haven't forgotten you're there or you sigh heavily because needing to change positions mid-nap is such an inconvenience or you grunt contentedly because you've found the best angle at which to be scratched. Anyway, the point is, really, that you're the best Fazül we could have dreamed of adopting.
I sometimes wonder what your life was like before we found each other. The good people at Lab Rescue aren't sure, but you seem totally unscathed by whatever it was that led you to need to be adopted. I didn't understand how you could be so unaffected by having been given up in the first place or how you could be so nonchalant about being part of our family now - not that you take us for granted, of course, but you accept it as just the way things are - until I read an excerpt from a new book by John Homans titled What's A Dog For? He explains, "It’s not that a dog accepts the cards it’s been dealt; it’s not aware that there are cards."
Sweet boy, in six months you've taught me that life isn't about the hand you're playing but the pure fact that you get to play. You've taught me that unconditional love is all-encompassing but still makes room for so much else. And you've taught me that sometimes the best thing you can do for your soul is to run through the wind but that home is always waiting when the need for freedom is exhausted.
Often, when I leave work in the evening, I'm totally drained. I get off the metro and that 3/4 mile walk back home seems endless. But as soon as I turn the corner into our neighborhood, the thought of the greeting that's waiting for me hastens my step and brings a smile to my face. And when I get through the door, your absolute joy at having me back fills me with wonder; I am rejuvenated by your unbridled delight.
Thank you for all of that, O Squishy One. I love you always and with everything.