Wednesday, July 4, 2018

when the other end of the leash is empty

As I approach 6 dogless months, my understanding of the dynamics of the relationship with dogs & the role they play in my life has never been more clear.
A tremendous amount of emotions & healing has occurred.
The pain of saying goodbye and the relief that his pain was gone.
Realizing how exhausted I was from 17 months of anxiety and care-taking after the cancer diagnosis.
Missing HIM. And feeling lost when navigating life activities that were ours.
Facing that emptiness and doing the things we did.
Visiting the lake and the beach and his/our friends.
It all had to be faced and relearned.
Walking the neighborhood.
I can kayak and observe the garden and drive to the bagel store.
But there is no joy.
Life is mundane, many times it flat out sucks.
There is no diversion.
No ridiculousness.
No playfulness.
I miss feeding him, feeling responsible for his care. There is a connectedness that goes along with that, that isn't the same as with another adult.
I miss training and learning what his skills and preferences were. Learning to read him and communicate with him.
For some, a dog is fun but in a sense a burden.
Not one day did I feel burdened.
6 months later, I know that life without a dog will never be enough.
A dog provides relief from the monotony of work, life tasks & worldwide strife & chaos.
You are greeting by that wagging tail, a hope & belief something great is going to happen, and plain old joy. You smile from the inside out. The day washes away. The world is less ugly.
All I had to do was say, "hey bud" and he'd stare into my eyes, like "absolutely, I'm in. What are we going to do? If its with you, I know its awesome"
Go ahead & try to keep hold of the day's frustrations with that beaming back at you.

Everytime I see an owner walking their dog, I see that bond. I see a human & dog in their routine; trusting, purposeful, connected.
I walk everyday & no longer cry missing him at my side. I am just empty & bored & unable to leave the world of strife. There is no connection to purpose, no fascinating trails to track.
Just steps.
For me, when the other end of the leash is empty, so too am I.