Wednesday, July 15
I can admit it now. When we first brought Quincy home from the shelter I was not in love. I thought he was cute, my maternal instincts were in full tilt, but I didn't love him. I was still mourning Jake. Everything about the new puppy just brought home the fact that he wasn't Jake. Jake was soft and golden and serene and devoted and cuddly and smart and sweet and mellow and trained. Quincy zoomed and nipped and wiggled and yipped and chewed and chased the cats and pooped in the dining room.
We discussed, briefly, whether we could handle him or if he should be "re-homed". I would weep with frustration and sadness. We had brought a new dog in too soon, but we had to. Our Summers are such that he had to be manageable by June, able to travel with us by September.
This new puppy was trying so hard to get into my heart, but I was still having times of intense sadness, missing my golden boy. I refused to let the new dog eat from Jake's bowls or play with his toys.
I started a blog "written" by Quincy in an attempt to make him real to me. That helped. We bought a collar that keeps him from pulling when you walk him. That helped. He slept in bed with us, often with his head in the crook of my neck. His jagged milk teeth gave way to real doggie teeth that could hurt you only if he tried. He never tried. We brought him to the barkyard almost every day and he would come home too happy and tired to have the zoomies.
I let him carry around Jake's Bobo toy.
Then, one day at the dog park, a feisty dog pushed him to the ground and growled and snapped in a way that sounded threatening to me and I raced to where they were, yelling "hey! hey!" and Quincy got up and leaned against me as a child would, a child who was being teased in the playground.
I guess that was the beginning.
I scrubbed Jake's kong and filled it with peanut butter and treats for Quincy.
In the dark days of my sadness and confusion over the dog thing, my dear buddy, Anne, gifted me with a framed photo by a mutual friend that has a quote from Anatole France: "Until one has loved an animal, a part of one's soul remains unawakened"
My soul has been kept awake by many beloved pets in my life, Q is just the latest.
He has learned to sit and stay and give his paw and do a high five and lay down. He chases the ball, brings it back and actually lets you have it sometimes without a struggle. When we are tossing toys for him in the house, he will bring the toy to me, then Russell, then me. Back and forth, sharing the game. When he is tired, he takes himself upstairs and hops on our bed, his head on a pillow. When he knows he is about to be leashed to go out, he stands at the table by the door, one paw on the surface to keep himself up, the other waving in the air, excited and beckoning.
He is cute and funny and still full of puppyness, but now we can see the fine dog he is becoming.
This weekend was his first weekend away from us, tended lovingly and with infinite patience by "Auntie Ree" our friend, neighbor and devoted dog tender. We kept in touch by phone and email. He drove her to distraction the first night, but she is wise about dogs and they came to an understanding.
And at some point, maybe Sunday morning, a realization hit me.
I missed my dog. I missed Quincy.
I loved him.