If early childhood experience matters, I really shouldn’t be a dog person. After all, one of the first dogs I met, when I was just a young child, a light-colored spaniel type named Abigail, bit me on my arm and turned it black and blue. But, I forgave Abigail. After all, I surprised her from behind. Shortly after Abigail, I met Taugus, a regal German Shepherd, and he and I became fast friends. Even then, as a child of only 4 or 5, I knew that I loved not only Taugus, but all Tauguses, and all Abigails, and every Sammy (a beagle who used to make a daily visit to our home), and every member of their kind.
Today is Thanksgiving and, as with each and every day, I am grateful for so many things, especially my dogs. They help me laugh and play. Their presence makes me smile. And, while their inevitable departures have filled my life with the deepest grief, both joys and sorrows are woven into a rich and beautiful tapestry, the fabric of my life. Each dog, connected to a place, a chapter, a time, a community of friends, a cup of coffee, a glass of wine, a silly moment, a heartfelt conversation with those with dogs, and their own tapestries of connections.
And so I think of Peggy, whose tapestry is filled with new pup hope and old dog grief. Richard, whose tapestry includes defending his maligned pit bull. Teresa, whose tapestry is filled with bold new threads as her dog career unfolds. Gabriela, my longtime friend and last loving hope for many needy dogs.
Woven into my tapestry, adding to it substance, strength, and fiber, are the many dog hairs that adorn the clothes I wear and gather in the nooks and crannies of my home, my car, my life. All that dog hair (and I do mean, ALL that dog hair!) – some short, some long, some black, and brown, and white — and then there were those feather-light greyish whisps from Lenny, the soul dog of them all, that used to float invisibly through the air. They tickled my nose. Gesundheit! “Bless you, Lenny,” I used to say, each time I sneezed. Bless you, Lenny, my beloved angel dog, wherever you now rest. Your blue merle markings and downy soft fur are prominently woven in the fabric my life.
So on this cool and rainy Thanksgiving Day, I am thankful for dogs, those now near and those once here. Happy Thanksgiving to all my dog friends. May the threads of your tapestries be strong, beautiful, and bright.