It’s hard, sometimes, to believe that Monty has been gone for two months.
It’s a few days more than that, actually.
When he was still here, old and slow, the other dogs would come bounding up the porch stairs to get a bit of cheese or a cookie after they did their business. And we would wait while Monty mounted each stair one at a time, looking up at us with that goofy smile on his face, trusting that we would stay there and hold the door for him, and he would get his treat too.
It’s all part of a strange cycle when you have dogs.
Once Monty was the youngin’. And he was the one bounding up the stairs. At that time, his friends and housemates Ripley and Smudge were the old timers.
And we held the door a bit longer for them too.
And, as I write, I look down from my stool at the kitchen counter and see three pairs of eyes looking at me. And I know that the door holding will happen for Fred, Blaze, and Marshal Dillon Dingle one day.
And I will smile that sort of sad, acknowledging smile every time I’m standing there, holding that door open, impatiently trying to be patient (especially when it is blow zero outside and the winds of a nor’easter are howling).
Sure, I don’t want to think about it now. And I won’t spend much time on it, really. But it will happen, barring some wHierd, out-of-cycle illness or accident on my part.
Because we humans outlive our dogs.
When I said goodbye to my soul-dog, ‘T’, two years ago, it was by far the toughest farewell to an animal that I’d ever lived through.
About a week later, the puppy I wouldn’t name (but who became Marshal Dillon Dingle) was a temporary guest in our house. It was a convoluted and gut-wrenching series of events that brought him to us for those two nights, and I felt guilty that there was even a puppy under my roof – another German shepherd at that – so soon after I’d said goodbye to ‘T’.
I was determined that this was not my puppy.
I was up early the next morning, having brought the puppy downstairs for a potty break for the third time since turning in the night before, and was on an animal grieving site, reading about signs and wishing like crazy that I believed in them.
And then the rainbows happened.
Little ones, all over the floor and walls.
They were everywhere, where none had ever appeared before.
And you can read about that astounding morning here, but for the purposes of this post all you need to know is that they showed up, hundreds of them, one morning when I was looking for a sign from T. And that those freakin’ rainbows, along with a few other goose bump-raising signs, resulted in Marshal Dillon Dingle being named and joining the family.
I’ve never seen those rainbows out in such full force since that first day, but there are a few here and there now and then.
Sometimes there is only one.
And each time I see them, I say a quiet ‘hey’ to my Main Man, T.
When Monty was diagnosed with a fast-moving cancer back in March, we thought we had a few weeks to say goodbye.
It turned out that we had only days.
He was Number-One-Son Sam’s dog, and he was a constant here.
The big, old dog.
A good, good boy.
I still feel Monty’s loss as an empty space, and I notice it when I hold the door a bit too long, expecting one more dog to come inside.
Still find my self gazing over at his empty corner. Where he always went to lay down.
And until yesterday, I wasn’t thinking of signs from Monty.
I didn’t think about the possibility of rainbows. Not even freakin’ ones.
We vacuum a lot in my house.
Especially during coat-blowing season which, for German shepherds, happens twice a year. They have a double coat, and the house turns into a ginormous dust-bunny rodeo. They gather and disperse at will. Hiding in corners, running from you as you approach…
There is just no herding these things.
When I’m vacuuming in the kitchen, I inevitably make my way behind the kitchen table to Monty’s corner.
And, as I have for more than a decade, I will flip the corner of the carpet down. The freakin’ corner that Monty always kicks up so that he can lie directly on the floor because the bare wood is nice and cool.
And then I’ll continue to vacuum the carpet from there.
You got that, right?
I’ll flip the corner of the carpet down…
I’ve done that for ten years. It’s such a natural movement for me, I don’t even think about it.
And I did it yesterday.
And as I stood there, completely still, I realized that I have kicked the corner of this carpet down many times since Monty died.
Nobody sits or lies over there.
Nobody who wants to stay cool, so kicks the carpet aside.
The dogs don’t rough-house back there, and we don’t walk back there.
It’s nobody’s ‘spot’ anymore.
Maybe it is.
Exactly where it would be.
All I had to do was look for it.
Thanks for readin’.
As always, you can come on over to Just Ponderin’s Facebook page to comment or just hang out.