|"Cheese" the Dachshund|
I turned on the TV a few moments ago, just as "Cheese" - a long haired golden Dachshund - was prancing around the circle at the Westminster Dog Show. It made me smile, giggle and cry a little, all at the same time.
You see... on Saturday I'll be flying home to California to visit my family, and my dogs.
And while "the boys": Bently (Whippet) and Charlie (long haired black Dachshund) will be there, along with my sister's baby Lil (a tiny Chihuahua) ... my little girl Gretchen - a long haired golden Dachshund (who by the way looked remarkably like "Cheese" in her youth) - will be missing.
Gretchen died a few weeks ago, and for the first time in 16 years, I will not be greeted by her waggling tail (and I do mean "waggling" because she wiggled as she wagged), nor her deep throaty bark as I slide through the door with my luggage. The house will be different without her.
Perhaps it isn't a coincidence that the Westminster Dog Show is being held on the eve of St. Valentine's Day, for there are few things more wonderful than the love of a dog. In fact, my first word was not "mom" or "dad", it was "aboom" which was the name of our Westie. (Her real name was Abby, but "aboom" came pretty close for a toddler.) In a way, you could say that Abby was my first love... my first experience with pure devotion and unbridled joy. Abby and I were inseparable growing up, and I can honestly say that she was the best friend a little girl could ever want. It's true what Dean Koontz says in A Big Little Life: A Memoir of a Joyful Dog:
|Abby and I - Enjoying Dad's Nightly Bedtime Stories|
“No matter how close we are to another person, few human relationships are as free from strife, disagreement, and frustration as is the relationship you have with a good dog. Few human beings give of themselves to another as a dog gives of itself. I also suspect that we cherish dogs because their unblemished souls make us wish - consciously or unconsciously - that we were as innocent as they are, and make us yearn for a place where innocence is universal and where the meanness, the betrayals, and the cruelties of this world are unknown.”