Beloved ones

I’m doing two loads more of laundry here on the weekend, hoping both will be done in time so they will dry on the line.

Once they dry, I will rig up a system by which Harvey, my big dog, will no longer be able to drag all the blankets from the dog beds in the dog yard. What that means is with a heavy dew, or showers, all the bedding now left muddy and soaked, leaving the other three with nothing to sit on, will be a crisis averted.

I love Harvey. He is my dog 1 1/2 year old Lab-like adoptee. Snake-bit and nearly dead a few months ago, Harvey had reconstructive surgery on his jaw to correct a bone fusion likely caused by the alleged gun shot and being hit by a car. Before the diagnosis and surgery, the big mellow dog could only open his mouth a inch.

He has truly a dog pupped with several lives, and few to spare. When I went out to collect the bedding dragged all across the dog yard just now, I found he’s started to drag the beds themselves out now for a gnaw. Burlap slings on metal frames, and he’s taking them apart.

Young and bored, and I wanted to use him as a rug. I love his large, well-intentioned and incredibly kind nature for a dog so young, but I also wanted to stuff him, put him on wheels and donate him to an orphanage for the kids to ride and dress up in ridiculous outfits.

And then there is Snazzy. She is our eldest. Born March 15, 2000 in little-boy’s Nebraskan bedroom, chosen at five weeks, brought back to my then-Wabaunsee, Kansas home at 10 weeks. She took the trans-Pacific flight to Sydney in 2003, and after 45 days in quarantine, has been one of the longest friendships I’ve had.

Snazzy is on Vivitonin for her dementia these days, and thankfully, it has made a real difference. Overall, is in excellent health. Her eyesight is questionable, hearing very scant, but the tip-top Jack Russell with a coffee-table book on the breed pedigree is proving her genetics are really that good.

My husband talks about his sadness since she is truly in her golden years, but I err on the side of optimism as the Snaz springs from the lawn up three steps and flies into the house like a young dog still. She has incredible strength and tenacity for a dog of 16.

I err because, like anybody with a dog they love this much, to imagine life without Snazzy is too hard to contemplate.

But with her absent-mindedness comes her insistence on the in and out at the door. I am grateful she knows that out means out, but her inability to hold on to a thought means often ten minutes after she is in or out, she has to go in then out.

The routine is relentless and sometimes when she’s just been out in the evening, and her restless pacing around and around is driving all humans in her vicinity mad, I’ll scoop her up, smack her head with a kiss, rock her powerful, squirming little body with a cuddle, and plop her in her preferred bed with a firm “stay!”

It works.

For about ten minutes until she either falls asleep or robotically begins pacing around again. Out, then in, out then in.

Harvey, Joe and Spud.

I say all this because as I have aged, deliberately without children, these four dogs, Harvey, Snaz, Spud and little Joe, are now my family. I’ve had dogs for many years, but it’s only now I seem to need them perhaps as much as they need me.

I don’t know if that sounds sad, but their I rely upon their consistent joy to buoy me up during these recent days where there seems no beginning and no end. That joy is a balm to my soul which lifts as I drive through my gate knowing there will be four tails wagging to greet me.