The last time I lived with a dog was the summer of 1982. I was home from college, working at the wretched insurance company that actually saved my broke ass, and coming home in the afternoon to run with my sister's dog. Our family dog Pippin had died, so it was me and Coffee. My sister had left home for college too, and was smart enough not to move back during the summer.
So Coffee and I would go out on a run. Not a bad one, but a run, and I thought she enjoyed the exercise. How could I have missed her whine when I clomped down the stairs?
"Coffee," I said.
So off we went.
Since that time (until about a week an a half ago), I was a cat person. Cleo, Oliver, Peanut, Bean. My first husband disliked animals in the house, but somehow I convinced him, and we had two during our marriage. My second husband wasn't crazy about creatures, either, and I'd made little headway with him when I started wanting a dog. It had been so long, and I am home alone a lot. I wanted a creature to be with, to hang out with, to love.
In comes Remy, a Pyrenean Shepherd, a 19 pound ball of fluffy muscle, racing around and peeing everywhere.
I'd forgotten about puppies, the way they pee and poo and need and chew. I'd forgotten about how it takes a village, or at least two grown adults to care for a puppy, dealing with fluids and solids and care. I'd forgotten everything, though now as I play with Remy, old Pippin comes back, how I knew what her pads and claws looked and felt like, her little stumpy doberman tail, her weird dog smile. I knew the way her tags sounded when she scratched herself under her chin, the sound of her bark, her bad dog kibble breath. That animal and I grew up together, but it took this new creature for me to see Pippin again, all these years later.
There are no children in this household, and no child will study Remy's paw pads or claws or bark other than me and Michael. But for the next 12-15 years, he's ours, and I will bring all my dog knowledge, the memory of Pippin and even Coffee with me as I try to be a good dog person, doing the right human things for the dog in our life.
Causes Jessica Inclán Supports
Women for Women International Goodwill Industries Lindsey Wildlife Museum Freecycle.org