I think we all have those moments. It’s either during a great REM sleep moment or just that quiet time where no out of the ordinary noises happen. You slip into that deepness of tranquility. And you calm. You settle, you turn into a pile of goo.
It never ceases to amaze me at the depths at which our pets figure us out and though we are oblivious to the goings on around, their subtle nose poke, lean into us, drap across our lap, turns our attention from the chaos we are floundering in and allows us to breath deep, and come to a conscious realization of what a mess we are.
For many of us that’s the heart dog effect. I can’t tell you the pain that still sits just below me having lost two of the most incredible dogs in my life. Not to discount all the other dogs that I love and those that I've lost, they all take a part of me with them when they go. But the ache, the emptiness, are all so much greater when it's That Dog. Addie was, well, my foundation, my starting line, she jump started me into the dog person I am today. I asked a lot and was in return given 10 fold over. 4 short years was so not enough time. Clairee, oh how do you describe the perfect dog? Kind, gentle, goofy, pushy and much like Addie who trained her, pleasantly perfect in every way.
There was nothing asked of them that they couldn’t do or at least attempted to do with all their heart and soul. They were the calming spirit when life was rough or people were stupid. Both of them made me a better person, I learned more about love, kindness and how to be a better person.
I sat down to watch a movie with the kids. I needed to do this, do that, get this ready, run into town, you know the drill. I kept getting poked. No go away. Poke. Sigh. Poke. Would you just go and piss off another dog? Poke. I had had it. Get your fuzzy butt up here, sit down and shut up—and quit poking me!
As I sat and my mind raced with what I needed to do, my fingers dug into the deep soft neck hair of a slightly spoiled, okay, rancid smelling black and white dog. The more I ran my fingers across his favorite spot just under his keel, lingered my finger tips on his ears that feel like silk, watched as he laid upside down, contorted his head to the oddest angle, I realized that he knew me better than I did myself. He understood that I needed him so much more then he needed me. I sighed, deep and relaxed.
I forgot about all the stupid people who have no idea what pain they put their dogs through for an ugly ribbon. I let it go that I’m never going to be in with the right crowd-just because I speak my mind and have no need for their bullshit. I realized that right now, on my lap, was a dog that wormed his way into my heart like only two others have before, that was taking charge of my unbalanced state and making me understand that none of that really mattered.
This bond that we've formed, is one that many claim to have—their “heart” dog, but to me it’s not a title, it’s not a name, it’s a feeling, it’s a deep down component that you can’t usually explain to someone else. I can try? It’s when you have a V8 moment and see what your dog has been telling you and you haven’t been listening for. For me and my smelly dog, he understands the need for a physical connection, a flow of energy.
I decided to run errands, he came along for the ride. Sitting in the passenger seat of the van, head laying on the armrest, staring at me. I made room on the tote that sits between the seats. Just the perfect for a Malcolm sized body. He crawled over, curled up, and leaned over to touch me. He was happy for my lazy hand draped down on his head, that simple physical touch. I was happy too, it’s so simple. He trusts me to not let him get in harms was—ask me about the rude people at the show and at Petsmart. He’s willing to try anything-gosh how he figured out the A-Frame in one try and now races up it like a mountain goat, stopping at the top to check in and ask-is this what you wanted Mom?
People need to get past the idea that a heart dog is the one that won them this, or that. It’s not about the dog that put your name on the map. It’s about understanding, loving and connecting and knowing that you are there for each other, regardless. It's something deeper then we can ever begin to create on our own, it just happens.