This is my second annual “Best Of” series of year-end posts. Some, I assume, will be brief. Some longer. All, varying degrees of serious. I’ll try my best not to use the words or phrases “unprecedented,” “new normal,” or “unpresidented”, but I can’t make any promises.
Jane turned 14 this summer. I entered 2020 not knowing how this year would treat her, as she has shown all the normal signs of aging. I can’t leave her in the backyard by herself for too long, because she’ll dig under my old shed and it can be an hour-long job trying to get her out. Since she’s not a full blood labrador, she was spared much of the early-onset hip dysplasia, but it has begun to catch up with her. She wants to walk for hours, but starts limping after a few blocks. It appeared this would be the year that she slept herself into an oblivion.
And then March came. Because I’m one of the privileged ones in this country who was able to keep my job and work from home, I was able to spend more time with her. In fact, all the time. When I wasn’t going for a run or doing an errand for my mom, I was in the house with her. And she came alive with all the attention. We had a late-night scare in the summer with a bout of pancreatitis, and occasionally she exhibits the absent-mindedness of an old lady with dementia. But for the most part, I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that the pandemic has been good for her.
And of course, good for me. I fared well before this year at solitude, and so this year honestly hasn’t changed a whole lot for me. Of course I miss being in public and meeting with friends, but chances are good that I’ll get to do a lot of that in the years to come. But I think having Jane around has added to my ability to make it through.
In addition to this, I have my mom’s dog Prince, who I pick up a couple of days a week to take to doggie daycare. Prince is a 7 on the Enneagram and is a constant source of “Hey! What’s next! I’m so happy! This is the best moment ever! No, wait– THIS is the best moment ever! No,wait!” And because some friends have been in and out making a move and selling their house, I have spent a good deal of time with Brazos, pictured below, as well.
It’s worth noting that I am actually terrified of dogs. Have been since I was a kid. I slowly got over it in my early 40’s, only to be attacked by a crazy dog in a dog park, which resulted in a pretty bad infection. I only like dogs I know. But the ones I know are pretty special, and have, in many ways, saved me this year.