Pup is curled up in a tiny ball of fluff in my lap.
He keeps staring up at me with his odd shaped eyes and crooked teeth.
Remnants of tonight’s adoption celebration are dotting the room. Toys strewn about, stuffing from a squeak toy spilling out of my trash can. We declared it officially deceased when Pup presented me with the squeaker. I think to him squeak toys are like tootsie pops. Your job is to enthusiastically get to the middle as fast as possible. Tonight the score is Pup 2, Squeaks 0.
He has carefully hidden the bones I have given him. The one tucked under a stuffed animal by my pillow is a nice touch. And don’t forget about wardrobe. There is a new stack of sweaters in his size and colors waiting to be worn. I think he will look very dapper in blue.
I was going to recycle Dog’s sweaters, but they don’t fit quite the same and the thing is, Pup isn’t Dog and Dog isn’t Pup. So Dog’s sweaters are to be made into a spectacular patchwork quilt, each square a fabric memory of happy times. And Pup will be sporting his own style.
They are different, my Best Friend and my New Friend.
Not that I ever expected them to be like each other, but somehow it feels important to continue to integrate the spirit of Dog into Life After, allowing space for how special that relationship was, all while I allow Pup a chance to be his own little guy and tuck himself into my heart in his own unique way.
There is room for both of these things I think, in my internal garden. Room for a memorial hidden among the roses which Dog helped plant in the first place. Walk by our rose garden and you will find bittersweet memories. Sorrow this lovely golden era had to end. Great love and joy our golden era existed to begin.
Sitting not far from Dog’s and my sweet roses is a new tree. Freshly planted. Tendrils curling into the soil and slowly making a home. It’s oddly shaped. A bit gnarled. This tree has character and is infusing the garden with new life. Young life.
And bright eyes.
Life has changed.
If you had shown me last May a picture of what life looks like at present, I may not have believed you. I may have sensed the ingredients for change were all there, but I wouldn’t have anticipated how they would work together to create the current pot of soup simmering on my stove. I definitely would have wondered how in the world I was to get from Point A to Point Z.
I think it is a very good thing sometimes that we don’t know what the future holds. If we did, we would spend all our time worrying about getting from Point A to Point Z. We’d live in constant anxiety. We’d miss the beauty of Now.
Even though my brain hasn’t quite caught up to circumstances, and I am still negotiating which way is up in Wonderland, I accept my Now as graciously as I can. But if somebody had told me what it looked like a year ago I probably would have run away in the other direction.
Like Pup did last night when he jumped out of my car and took off at high speed down the sidewalk by a busy intersection as I followed, sprinting in my boots during our first heavy snowfall, for all I was worth. He made my heart stop, that pup of mine.
I don’t think he meant to run away. I think he saw an open door, a world unexplored, felt the winds of change, and just took off. I think he is still trying to work out how he got from Point A to Point Z and is a bit uncertain as to which way is up in Wonderland himself. I suppose we will learn together him and I, both of us trying to keep our wits about us and find sure footing in a changed terrain, me and my Kintsugi Pup.
I wonder what stories lay behind his bright eyes, what it feels like to be given up early on and then live at a shelter for so long. What if feels like to hope for a new home and find yourself rejected because people think you are “ugly” and “odd.” What it feels like to have somebody come along, hold you, rescue you.
I wonder if he wonders about what lays behind my blue eyes. The love he is already seeing shining. The aching tug of the past and the hopeful pull of the future. The sadness that occasionally creeps through. I wonder if he thinks it is really he who is rescuing me.
Perhaps we will bicker over who rescued who for quite awhile as we stroll through Wonderland and remark on how beautiful the rose garden is, tinged with a hint of sadness and a heap of joy. Then point out how tall the new tree is, constantly growing, watered with fresh energy and new love.
I imagine we will both keep our wits about us, find our sure footing, and keep on walking. Even if we don’t know where we are going. Taking our changes in stride and accepting the Nows that come our ways.
With bright eyes.