I’ve gone into each of the past few new years expecting it to be the one I’d have to make the difficult decision about Jane. But she held on, gave me a lot of life for a lot of years, and was one of the greatest gifts I’ve ever had the honor of receiving. Finally, in August, her hips gave out on her one too many times, and small seizures began to signal that it was time. I never imagined I could be in the room when it was time for her to go, but I was, and it was a holy moment.
My expectation was to wait until after the first of the year, and a couple of long trips, before thinking about a new dog. But a trip home for Thanksgiving changed all that, and within a few days I came home with Ruby who, as I am typing this, is chewing on a bone at my feet alongside Prince, my mom’s dog who we are hosting while his owner is recovering from a broken ankle.
Here’s a little known fact about me: I’m actually afraid of dogs. In my grandmother’s later years, when her memory began to fail her, it was the one thing she remembered about my childhood. “Are you still afraid of dogs?” she would ask me. Or, when I’d introduce her to a fried, she’d let them know, out of the blue, that I was afraid of dogs. Though present, those fears have waned, and the dogs in my care help me become less afraid. Of dogs and other assorted things.