Wednesday, May 30, 2012

A family history... In dog years.

I can't believe it's been so long since I've posted!  There have been many activities, accomplishments, funny stories, and simple musings that I've wanted to blog about but just haven't had the time.  Or the motivation.   Instead I've filed them away in my memory and have just figured I'd rely on my saved picture files to hint at what I should blog about next.  But tonight it was very clear what I wanted to post about.  What I NEED to put out there for posterities sake and to give my heart some therapy...

Our dog, Bodi,  is 15 years old.  We got him on Halloween Day, 1997 just 36 days after getting married.  We had him before we were parents and when that day came about 17 months later he quietly moved aside and immediately knew his place in the family.  He loved the new little human that now got all of our attention.  When she cried he would sit right by her and look at me, whimpering until I tended to her.  He would lay silent and still as she crawled and drooled all over him poking his eyes and pulling his tail, his only movement to "kiss" her in his own drooly way.  I remember one night on a camping trip the adults were visiting at the campfire.  The human toddler began to fuss and he alerted me with that familiar stare that said, "Take care of our girl."  As I walked to the camper to tend to her he was right by my side.  When I came out the door a few moments later he was still sitting there waiting to walk me safely back to the campfire only to run off to the woods and play once I was settled comfortably back in my chair. 

They grew together, the baby and puppy.  Entering their own stages of childhood.  Then the boy came.  A new little human.  More of our attention shifted away but he took it in stride.  This new addition would soon give him all of the attention he had been missing from us but tenfold.  This boy cried like the girl but now there was a trust between Bodi and I.  He knew I would quiet the baby down and take care of his needs.  It was clear from the beginning they had a special bond.  His boy would dine with him.  (The boy thought if the dogfood was good enough for Bodi then it was good enough for him, too.)  His boy would crawl into the doghouse with him.  His boy would cuddle and pet him being careful of the painful lump growing on his elbow.  Boy and dog would sleep on the floor using eachother's bellies as pillows.  Boy and dog were inseperable.  Until school started.  The boy entered kindergarten, the dog entered a sort of adolescence.  I remember a pattern emerging.  As the afternoon wore on Bodi would start to mope around the house.  It seemed like he was looking for something.  But what he was unable to find with his eyes he sniffed out with his nose and he would plop right down and curl around it.  It didn't matter what the item was.  As long as it smelled like his boy.

They grew together, the boy and Bodi.  The dog now an adult.  Then another boy came.  I imagine by now Bodi felt like a veteran at making room for new little humans.  He'd done it twice already and this time was no different.  Less attention from us.  More tail pulling and eye poking.  This new boy loved him but gave him a different kind of attention.  This new boy would sit on his back and try to hitch rides.  At times Bodi would lay still and ignore it.  Other times he would stand up and leave the room.  Some days Bodi was patient while other days just tolerant.  But he still had his energy so when this boy would tie a wakeboard rope to his collar and tell him to "run" Bodi would do just that.  The boy in tow behind him sitting on a skateboard, all high-pitched and giggly.  I'll always remember tonight and the note this rough-and-tumble boy wrote to deal with his fears of losing the dog:  "Jesus Pleas Help Bodi to Stay Alive     Jesus pleas complet my prayer."

They grew together, the boy and Bodi.  The dog now gray and geriatric both visually and in behavior.  And what do you know?  Another boy came!  A new human toddler that sees Bodi in a perpetual slumber.  The most movement the toddler sees from the dog is the relocation from one favorite sleeping spot to the next (he has 4).    I can't tell what the old dog thinks of the toddler.  He knows his place, of that I'm sure.  This toddler that is over 100 years younger than him (in dog years) is just another Alpha.  There is not enough time for the toddler to have his own memories of growing with the dog.  He'll know him from pictures and the stories the rest of us humans have to share.  He'll hear of  the loving protection, the natural obedience, the desire to please, the fierce loyalty. So while the toddler won't remember the dog...  he will absolutely love him!