Thursday, March 15, 2007

dog day afternoon

"The miracle is not to walk on water. The miracle is to walk on the green earth, dwelling deeply in the present moment and feeling truly alive."
~Thich Nhat Hanh

that would feel pretty miraculous, eh? I catch it sometimes, sometimes, but it's fleeting. I'm working on it.

my old dog Althea died yesterday afternoon. I knew her for thirteen years and two weeks, starting when she was an extremely energetic 10 month old labrador pup, always jumping up on everyone, and serving as a big ball of chaos in the house where we were living, snatching food from the unsuspecting, leaping onto laps in spite of her 70+ pound size, clearing the coffee table of drinks in seconds with her frenzied tail-wagging and, if she got the chance, diving headfirst into the garbage can or litter box. I'm remembering how we used to have to throw a ball far, as far as we could, to distract her long enough for us to get out of the yard and shut the gate again without her bounding down the street after us. she was a wild thing, and a royal pain in my ass, but very, very loving.

she began actively ailing this winter, and when her decline turned dramatic this week, we knew it was time to let her go.

it's a first for me - to make a life or death decision for someone else. it feels very strange. I know it was the right thing to do, but knowing that doesn't take the strangeness away.

and I feel like my young dog is looking at me each time I come into the house now, like aren't you forgetting something? when is my cranky old auntie coming home? but, you know, I could be projecting.

I also think that one reason that I have dogs, that I want to always have a dog in my life, is because they live in the present, and they pull me, at least for some of each day, into the present with them. my puppy reminds me to go outside and get some fresh air, to drink water, to hug somebody. this mixed up, sappy curmudgeon needs that.

anyway, I think we're going to have something like a wake for Althea. a celebration of her life, and of dogs in general. a Dog Day Afternoon.

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