"they say the owl was a baker's daughter. lord, we know what we are, but know not what we may be." (Hamlet, Act IV, Scene 5)

Subscribe in a reader

Monday, November 23, 2015

What I Learned the Week I Owned a Dog

I owned a dog for one week. She was a beautiful purebred Siberian Husky. Her name was Francesca, and we called her Frankie. We adopted her from a carefully researched breeder and we waited months before she was old enough to come home.

We heard a podcast called, Legendary. We fell in love with the 06 Female gray wolf. I wanted one of my own. I was obsessed with her. I couldn't stop listening to the story of this amazing, powerful, clevel, intelligent, warrior. I  loved her before I even met her. It was the most brilliant story I have ever heard.

My younger son has always wanted a dog and I found myself at a point in my life where I finally felt capable of taking it on such a major commitment. My son did the research on breeds, made a formal presentation to me, and even responded to an RFP I wrote for a sole-source contract for a new dog-owner. I couldn't have made it harder. He couldn't have wanted it more.

We brought Frankie, our 06 Female, home on Sunday, November 15.  She fit right in. We walked for hours each day, she ran laps throughout our neighborhood outpacing every dog. No one could touch her. She slept in her crate, and rested next to me (in her playpen) during the day while I worked. On day three I started itching, and by day five I couldn't stop. My head, my legs, my chest ... so much itching. I've never owned a dog, never knew I'd be allergic.

We had to return Frankie to the farm where she was born the following weekend. I cried the whole way. When we arrived, and it was time for her to get out of the car, she just looked at me and put her head on my lap (more itching, more love).  I like to think she didn't want to leave me. I know that I didn't want to leave her. And that's how it came to pass that I had a dog for a week and it taught me this.

The heart is built to love. It's amazing how much love a heart can hold. For a child, for a friend, for a spouse, and even for a silly dog you've only known for a week. And a heart can break. Because it's the only way to release all the love it holds inside when things don't turn out as planned. And, as I'm trying to tell my son who sits crying on my couch, broken-hearted over his all-too-short love affair with his dog, a heart can heal. It takes time. But a  heart can heal. The fissures and the scars that grow during the healing process will forever hold all of his sweet memories along with all of the hope and plans he once held for him and our beautiful Frankie.

There's hope, and there's love, and there's loss.  There's moving on into a future that looks different than the one we had planned. I have done it many times. The pain will lessen. Tomorrow becomes bearable. Because the heart is built to love.