Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Re-entry



While one of my housemates is in Spain, I'm in charge of walking his dog. I tend to walk the dogs anyway, whenever it suits me, but I'll admit that since Jake died, I've been a lot lazier than I used to be, sleeping in, reading blogs until 10 a.m. when I finally boost myself out the door.

Tonka is a boisterous, energetic beast, much the way Jake was at the same age (five), so I'm up and out the door early every day, back out midday and once again in the evening. I am becoming reaquainted with the routes I used to take but abandoned after Jake, routes on which there's plenty of grass to provide inspiration, good smells, and easy to scoop locations.

I keep seeing people I haven't seen since last summer, out with their dogs. Walking Tonka has provided access to dog society, synched my rhythms with those of many wonderful neighbors. When Jake died a whole culture disappeared before my very eyes. I'm a part of it again for the time being, which is so nice.

I'm no longer grieving for Jake so it's not hard to explain to these people that no, Tonka is not my new dog. For a long time after Jake died, I choked up anytime anyone mentioned him. I'm asked every morning, after I explain about Tonka, when I'll get a new dog. All I can do is shrug my shoulders and say I don't know. I have no desire to get a new dog. Is that normal? Jake was the only dog I've ever had, perhaps ever will have. Who knows?

One thing I'm re-learning is how much I love to walk around the neighborhood first thing in the morning when the day is fresh, the birds are singing and all seems peaceful and new. I'm grateful for this dog walking gig, I am.

19 comments:

C.M. Jackson said...

I understand how you feel--Max is 12 going 13 and I know the day will come. I am glad that you can think of Jake and smile rather than cry--he is in your heart and always watching over you. He is also happy that you are getting up and walking again even if it is with some other dog. Thanks Tonka
;-j Have a beautiful day!

ellen abbott said...

When Jake died, you didn't just lose him, you lost your way of life. No wonder it was so hard. Life definitely revolves around dogs when you have them. People keep urging us to get another dog now that we have the country house but we are still going back and forth too much and already have a cat we take back and forth with us. No room for a dog too in the truck.

Whitney Lee said...

That's happy. Perhaps with access to other dogs you won't really feel the need to get another dog. Maybe that satisfies your desires for now.

When our dog makes that transition we may not get another one. Then again, my daughter is such an animal lover we may not have much choice!

Reya Mellicker said...

I just noticed how perfect that last picture is with the discarded bouquet (referring to the death of Jake) juxtaposed with the fresh, eager face of Tonka. Didn't do it on purpose, but it's evocative. Cool!

mouse (aka kimy) said...

i definitely could use a dog to get my butt into gear in the morning!!

Barbara said...

Tonka seems like a win-win. You get your exercise while doing your housemate a favor and you don't have to deal with buying dog food or taking Tonka to the vet or excusing your dog for bad behavior.

Cyndy said...

That bottom photo is indeed very Jake-like. I'm glad that you seem to be mostly past the grieving stage now. It's really nice to have just the happy memories. Like you with Jake, I have had no desire to get another cat after my Ted died two years ago. But I love seeing my friends' cats (and dogs) a whole lot more than I ever used to.

Meri said...

I don't know that I will share my life with another dog after Latte dies. She's been with me for almost 14 years. I did bring two kittens into the house when my male cat died 18 months ago and they were a great comfort when my elderly "Queen" cat Shadow died in January. So maybe the dog thing is negotiable, who knows? They're just so much higher maintenance than the felines.

Susan said...

Love the Tonka photo, even if it was accidental.
It is a whole subculture, isn't it?
And one you don't even realize you miss 'til you get to join in again.
I've lost so many dog loves in my life, and I'm ready to try again.
But much as I'm itching, I think we'll wait til our elderly cats have moved on - it seems kind of cruel to add a dog to an already dysfunctional cat clan.
So I appreciate experiencing the dog world vicariously through you, Reya.

Reya Mellicker said...

Barbara there is no excuse for Tonka's bad behavior. I'm glad I don't have to feel responsible for it!

Tom said...

i missed your dog walking pictures.

Nancy said...

Your charge looks very happy for his walk! Lucy is quite big and hard to handle sometimes, too. I like my husband to do the first walk of the day. Too cold, and Lucy has tons of energy. Later in the day it's warmer and Lucy is willing to relax and enjoy the smells and sights. Much more enjoyable, even if I miss the first kiss of day.

Reya Mellicker said...

Tom I miss those pictures, too. Those were good times.

Teri and the cats of Furrydance said...

I am glad that Tonka has you out and about again doing doggy things. It is a gentle reminder maybe of what you have loved and what you enjoy...but sometimes there is only one "Heart" Dog, just as for me, one special "Heart" Cat, which doesn't make me love the current cats in my life any less...just I am at a different place and time than I was when Bo became that cat for me...who is to say what the future will bring, but you can enjoy Tonka for now and that is enough.

Marian Wiseman said...

I LOVE your blog. Boy, the dog people sure checked in today!

I also don't know when you changed your banner across the top, but I just noticed it and I love this new one.

Your walk with Tonka and your blog are so inspiring to me. I realized that is how I need to start out the day--reading blogs and FB posts. Be just like Reya

Pauline said...

No dog here but I know the pleasure of getting out early in the day, especially now that the weather has taken a decidedly springlike turn!

Reya Mellicker said...

Marian I was thinking about you all day today. So glad you're with Rachel. Miss you, though. And thanks!

Steve said...

I'm sure it's hard to step out of that community of dog-walkers -- like a part of your social scene has disappeared. So I can only imagine that being part of it again is a lot of fun!

As for a new dog, if it's meant to be, you'll know. Right?

lettuce said...

i'm so glad reya you've enjoyed re-entry into the dog-walking world for a bit