Hiking this weekend, I had an insight about myself and my pet. Zoe is very friendly and extroverted, and I usually think of us as opposites. I actually met her at an adoption clinic when I was there to visit a very shy and reserved dog who I thought would make a good match for me.
I’m shy and have a hard time interacting with and getting to know new people, but I bond and interact very easily with dogs. Zoe has a special ability to charm people and is not at all shy, but snarls and snaps at unfamiliar dogs when she first meets them if she’s leashed.
We’re both fine with our own species when we have an opportunity to get to know new people/dogs.
Having to sit alongside your human all day, helping her while she works. Rough.
Us in 2001
I’ve had this post saved as a draft for a while, working on it here and there because it’s never quite right. My family met Maggie in 2001, six months after our previous cocker spaniel had died. Even though I wasn’t home all that much, we were still very best friends in the way that only an affectionate dog and a lonely animal lover can be. When I left to go back to college or back to Albany, she would frantically search the house for me, thinking that maybe I had gone out the side door, then somehow re-entered the house silently and hidden behind a piece of furniture. (I never said that she was smart.) Read More →
I had a dream recently about animals. That isn’t unusual. This dream was based on the legend that animals can talk, once a year, at midnight on Christmas. The variation on this that my subconscious created was that for one minute, once a year or once a lifetime (it wasn’t clear), we and our pets could sit together, communicate in the same language, and understand each other.
What would we say? Would it be expressions of love? Requests to please not claw the furniture? Demands for better food?
In the dream, I was using my minute to say my last goodbye to Maggie. “I hope we see each other again, but I know We probably won’t.” I told her, stroking her head as she twitched her tail stump a bit, too weak to do anything else. All she could do was rest and love.
This is what I said in real life, too. And she may have licked my nose and gazed at me adoringly.
In the dream, when I explained how she was the best friend I had ever had and that Zoe was not her replacement, she understood every word I was saying. In real life, to Maggie it was all white noise in a soft voice while that girl who visited every once in a while stroked her fur. She died the next day, after I left.
I have shared my life with animals, wondering whether they understand me beyond words, or whether we’ve managed to communicate at all.