Thursday, September 23, 2010

A True Friend: Loving & Loyal

Today we buried our oldest dog, Nutmeg. 

In the fall of 1994, my family and I went to the humane society to get a cat.  We came back with two puppies, Buddy and Nutmeg.  Since that day, Nutmeg has been woven into the fabric of our lives.  So many notable events and then just plain old everyday life happens in the span of sixteen years, both lasting and ephemeral.

The life of a family dog marks an era.  During the past sixteen years, I've grown up (at least on the outside).  I've gone from the joy of having my mom and dad buy me a puppy to picking out kitties for our daughter.  Nutmeg has seen all of the marry-in spouses be added to the family and entertained the seven grandkids that have joined the scene.  As Nutmeg has aged, I've grappled with trying to figure out life from the inside out, and sometimes from the outside in. 

Letting dogs in and out, feeding them, and filling their water bowl - day in day out, tasks of the pet owner.  These mundane acts so daily and always happening, but mostly little noticed.  On days of remembrance, like today, I feel the weight of time passing and daily life unappreciated.  I notice that I am not always as present as I want to be with letting my dogs in and out, filling their food and water bowls, making dinner, hugging my kids, sharing my life with my spouse.

Sixteen years is more than half of my life.  That Nutmeg's ubiquitous presence that will be missing from our days reminds me off how slowly and quickly time passes.  Thinking of Nutty's life and her sweet personality is another call for me to notice what is simple and lovely. 

Today, we taught our daughter to say goodbye forever and to bury a friend.  When CB was a toddler, she always said that Nutmeg was her favorite.  She was the only dog, of our three, that would let CB crawl up on her bag and lead her around on a leash in the house.  CB might not remember Nutmeg as she grows up, but Nutmeg has forever left an imprint on her heart about how trusting and loving animals can be.  We've been blessed by her time with us.

Goodbye, Nutmeg.  I'll always remember you and your happy love.

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