We've had a lot of dog losses in the last year. Important dogs, the legends of this decade. And then there is Henry, the last of these. Even though in many ways he started his life looking like an old man, now he is an old man and he's still ticking, still sleeping, and running, and still asking for his dinner too early.
It certainly makes me think, how often I take him for granted, and how much I don't want to take him for granted. On the advice of a friend that just lost his girl, I smell Henry's ears right before bed, even getting back out of bed to hug and snuggle him once more if I don't feel like I was truly present. At one point we put a mattress next to our bed with the thought that Echo might graduate to it and... she didn't. But someone else did! Henry, so cutely, retires from his dog bed (which he sleeps on the entire living day) to the bedroom bed at bedtime. There he truly conks out. I find him there, a yellow comma in the dark, and kiss him and hug him and smell those ears and whisper again and again I love you. You are a goood dog. Such a good dog. My sweet boy. Such a yellow boy.
When I sit down to write this blog I scan our recent pictures to see if there's a story to write, and when our computer is at rest our family photos flicker past on the screen saver. We talk about how cute that kid is or what house we were in when that photo was taken. We look at the headlining subjects. But who is always the subheader? Who's brown nose pokes in from the margins in almost every picture?
Henry's of course.
I see new puppies and gawk at their cuteness but then I glance over at this guy and know I wouldn't trade him for any youthfulness in the world. He barks at the fence too much and eats gross things on walks (just try not to watch, it's the only way to survive) but he also waits for my command to cross the street, and runs next to me without a leash (and keeps up!). He is steady and behaved and always interested in what I am doing, providing company for chicken chores, or taking the garbage out.
My god he's a good friend.
He sneezes on command. He knows the hour within a minute. Asking for dinner early, sure, but only expecting or demanding it at 5:59. He looks like a baby duck. He's always looked like a baby duck.
Talkfeeleez is an offshoot of Feeleez, a line of tools to teach children (and adults!) empathy. We believe so firmly in empathy as the foundation for all that is good in the world that we have based our personal lives on it as well. This blog chronicles that journey.