Hear Me Now and Believe Me Later

I was either 23 or 24 when I got Lola.  It was forever ago, so it doesn't really matter, except to say, I was young.  I think it was 24.

She very quickly became the center of my universe.  She and I went everywhere together, appropriate or not.  I went places I didn't need to, just because they would let me take my dog in.  Pike's Nursery - we'd go browse plants, just to get out of my apartment for a bit.

There was this really sketchy tiny park near my apartment that had a really rundown pair of tennis courts - they were enclosed with chain link fence, and I would take her there and close us up on one of the courts where I'd let her run and chase tennis balls.   There was a little creek there that she could wade in, too. It was just tucked away near the interstate.

I brought her with me when I went to my parents' house.  I took her to the mountains.  I took her to PetSmart just to wander around and not spend money.  I took her to Starbucks drive thru where she'd get a milk bone.  

The one place she couldn't go was Matt's apartment in Nashville.  So I had to make other arrangements.  Initially, that meant leaving her at the vet - they boarded her and she was fine.  One weekend, I took her to the vet, and I had a meltdown about leaving her, because Matt and I were in a small tiff about something I can't even recall today.  I was sad to leave her, and I cried leaving her there.

I picked her up about 72 hours later and she was fine.  Happy to see me, smelly and hungry.  Matt and I had worked through whatever had me upset.  All good things.  But I had agonized. 

Eventually, I found a pet-sitter - who I liked very much - her name was Jolene.  She loved Lola and it was mutual.  I still went to Nashville from time to time, and it wasn't so bad, but I was always happy to come home to my babyroo.  I told Lola at least once a day, I loved her the best and the most.  I would often just tell her - "Lola - best and most."  She knew what I meant.  I didn't think I could love an animal more.

When I got married, Lola and I moved to Nashville with Matt.  I melted down again two days after the wedding as we loaded the U Haul with my crap.  I had not been proactive enough in packing and it was a mess.  I was stressed about leaving my parents and the only area I'd ever known as home.  I cried a lot.  I had nausea.  Lola just hopped in the car and went.  She managed just fine.  It took me a year to adjust.  I was thirty.

I was 38 when Lola died.  On the first anniversary of her death, I laid on the kitchen floor and bawled.  I knew I would never find another dog like Lola.

Best and Most

I was 39 when my father died.  I was devastated.  A part of me went dark that day.  Occasionally, I see glimmers of that part.  I miss Dad every day, and I really wish I could have an hour with him to clear up a few questions, tell him things.  But losing him was the worst thing that has ever happened to me.  I'm essentially fine, but not having him around on a daily basis is hard, even though I had nearly 40 years with him - and he suffered only the last handful of months.

Shortly after I turrned 40, I decided I had a void in my life that needed to be stuffed with fur.  Within 24 hours of adopting Piper, my heart hurt with how much I loved her.  The first time I had to leave her to go on a trip, I sat on the couch and cried because I didn't want to leave her.  My stomach hurt at the thought of not seeing her for a few days.  

Pink paws, brown eyes, can't lose

I tell Piper how much I love her every day.  I constantly ask Matt, "Isn't she the best/greatest/cutest/sweetest?"  We can't take her anywhere because she is an unpredictable spazz who overreact to things at random.  I still couldn't be more thrilled.

My point is - in the case of my dogs and my parents, I found separating from them extremely stressful, even just for a short period of time, even knowing I'd/they'd be back, and exactly how long I/they would be gone.  Even though I was a grown-up with access to therapeutic and pharmaceutical assistance, people to talk to, and a comfortable living arrangement for all parties.

I can't imagine having to go through something far, far worse at a fraction of my age, just as an example.  People, especially kid-aged people, are resilient.  But should they have to be?  Shouldn't we just be taking care of all of our sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, fathers and mothers, cats and dogs in our little corner of the universe?

Just for example.