Tuesday, 25 August 2015

"Just Not A Dog Person..."



We stood in a barn, laughing as eager Border Collie puppies jumped around our feet.  I even laughed as one nipped a hole through the bottom of my new dress.  That sort of stuff didn't bother me then.  It wasn't hard for us to choose one.  We chose the one that hung quietly back from the others, the one who looked a little bit sad.  We took her home.  We called her Tia.

It was mid August.  We'd just returned from a scorching summer in Manitoba.  We didn't know yet how we would need this dog.  That just a week later things would fall apart.  Our lives would be disrupted in one of those scenarios that lead people to think in terms of before and after.  That all this would happen and we would be ultimately left alone in our suffering but that she would be there.

Just one week after getting Tia, we learned that we would not be able to have children.  Not maybe, not it could be difficult, but never.  And that word fell so hard and unexpectedly into our lives that for years it broke everything it landed on.

It was devastation.  And life a great waste land yet there in the middle of it all was this energetic, crazy puppy who demanded our attention.  I am not going to say she took the place of child, that's not the way my mind works.  That way of thinking is too sentimental for me.  But she did something.  Over time, she helped us heal.

Tia was a beautiful dog, extremely gentle and loving but a typical puppy and I remember losing my patience with her almost daily.  Her rope would get tangled around the trees again and I would stalk out to the backyard angrily to undo her tangles for what felt like the millionth time.  She would race around the house, her nails scratching the floor and I would care.  I don't remember half the things she did that made my life so trying but I remember the frustration I felt.  Yet I loved her so much.  Please don't imagine all this meant I didn't, I just found my patience being tried daily and I was the one who came up wanting.  Struggling with grief, anger, and this boundless emptiness inside myself, I felt I couldn't love her the way I wanted to.  Yet I did love her.

I remember sitting with a group of friends saying ruefully, trying to be vaguely humorous, "We just got a puppy...and I tell you, she's no cat!" Sigh.  "I am just so not a dog person..."

However, time passed and she became better trained and calmed down and was a comfort in our lives.  She brought joy and laughter back into our hearts.  Even as this was true, I began to take her for-granted.  I began to put off long walks in favor of shorter ones so I could get other things done.  Epicly unimportant things.  I began not to notice her in the mornings as she waited at the bottom of the stairs for us when we came down from our bedroom.

The morning she died was one such morning.  I remember we woke up, my husband took her for a walk.  I walked into the kitchen to get a coffee.  I heard a crash and a yell "No!" and I ran outside and there was Tia lying motionless on the road.  I couldn't see through my tears.  It broke our hearts again.  We picked her up, stared stunned at the woman in the car who was crying too saying she was so so sorry, carried her to the car to drive her to the vet, praying somehow maybe we were wrong and she was alive.  I didn't care about the blood on my clothes.  I guess that moment I went back to not being bothered by stuff like that.

The funny thing is, in a bizarre coincidence, the night before she was killed, my husband and I watched "Marley and Me".  I lay on the couch and at the end said "Oh my goodness, that was sooooo sad!!  I am so glad we get to keep Tia for many more years!" (Because she was just two then.)
Tia jumped in my lap, something she never did, and I laughed and said "Quick, take a picture!  I guess she loves me!"

But the next morning I didn't even see her.  I walked right past her without noticing her.  A lot of things were more important.  Maybe like getting a coffee and checking Facebook.

And she died.  And the sadness was intense.  More than I would have ever expected.  And I discovered that for Tia, I was a "dog person".


I was inspired to write this down after reading a lovely post on this blog:  http://rama-ananth.blogspot.no/
I'd like to give her credit because she reminded me of the way that Tia loved us unconditionally and in her way, healed our hearts.  Tia was sent into our lives like an angel, exactly at the time we needed her.


15 comments:

  1. I'm always amazed at how we are shown "coincidences" at just the right moments in life!

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    1. I agree and I find when I look back there have been many such moments. :)

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  2. Oh my goodness, Colleen, I have tears streaming down my face right now. I'm so sorry for your loss. The first dog my husband and I bought together was a black lab. She was the little shy and sad looking runt at the back of the litter, too. We named her Nina. She also drove me crazy when she was a puppy. She chewed on everything and destroyed our backyard. But she had a heart of gold. She was the most loving and devoted dog. We had to put her down when she was fourteen yrs old. There are dogs that come into our lives and remain in our hearts forever, I'm so happy Tia was there for you when you needed her the most. Thanks so much for sharing!

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    1. Thank you for you comment! I'm sorry about Nina. I totally agree that certain dogs are absolute angels and stay in our hearts. They can be such great blessings and excellent, undemanding companions.

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  3. Wonderful post - This brought back so many memories of my own pets. Thank you for sharing.

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    1. Thank you Jenny! It's something so many can relate to, isn't it?

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  4. A very touching post.Thank God for such coincidences.
    Pets can be very supportive.But how sad that she left you so early.

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  5. Thanks Indu! It's strange, I hadn't really thought about this in so long and then suddenly there it was. I was glad to remember it all.

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  6. Oh gosh! I am a huge pet lover but the thought of losing them is one of the most painful. I think that was one of the reasons why I did not want to have a pet. They just leave a gaping hole in your heart when they go. :(

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  7. Very touching! No matter what is in life we should always remember the things that are the most important. Family and pets always come first. <3

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  8. Beautiful and so heart-breaking, what a lovely pet Tia sounded like. Pets are so great at helping us to heal and provide comfort. I eventually want a dog when we get a bigger place. We have a cat and just got a new kitten, this is a good reminder for me of how important they are and to cherish them. :) I don't always notice them either when I'm busy with other things.

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    1. I understand, it just gets so easy to take them forgranted. I think it's just human nature isn't it? I know I do this with people too. I love cats, may yours bring you a lot of joy! Thank you for visiting. :)

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