I think I have started to emerge from the dog-themed funk I was in for a few weeks, as Star's adopters are clearly committed to her.
Lady's relaxed, happy, low-stress style, the ease of walking her, and the abundance of kisses she bestows in exchange for a bit of attention have certainly helped.
She does this thing though, where at night the place she really wants to be is in the back yard. Probably fed up with Lamar snapping and snarling at her as long as she's in the bedroom, and not wanting to spend the night alone in the living room--or maybe just in search of a cooler, fresh place to snooze in peace--when I leave the dog door unbarricaded she slips right out there.
And when I followed her with a flashlight, what I found was kind of magical, kind of beautiful, and a little bit haunting. Of all the places she could find to rest in the great big backyard, she chose the slightly hollowed-out nook under the azalea bush where Tashi died, almost exactly two years ago. The bush is in bloom just like it was then, and I found Lady resting under there just like Tashi did her last two days on this planet.
It is haunting because I miss Tashi, and I wish I had taken that day off from work so that I could be there with her when she passed on.
Lady reminds me of Tashi in a lot of ways. Even though she is reportedly only 6-7 years old, she moves like Tashi did when she was near death. When she gets up from lying down, or comes up stairs, she moves with a hobbling, bouncing gait probably due to her obesity and long nails--although on walks, she trots along like a happy, healthy girl.
Then there's her chow-shepherd-brown dog looks, and her spotted tongue.
Lady's similarities to Tashi are a huge comfort, and I've been enjoying each chow-flavored kiss and taking time to remember what a special girl my crazy dingo-chow was.
I've brought Lady to visit Tashi's grave, where a beautiful peach tree has been in blossom.
I've been talking to Fozzie and Lamar about Tashi, making sure that they remember her too.
Remembering the dead serves an important purpose for the living. I would like to make death rituals a more important part of living, rather than denying death and trying to forget it.
On a related note, I read an article recently about Green Burial, which told about a man who knew he was dying so he resolved to make his death meaningful; he produced a documentary to raise awareness of the alternatives to the toxic way we bury people now. Maybe I can get someone to just put me under a peach tree when I kick off.
And if I haven't thoroughly bummed you out, don't forget to VOTE for the picture of Fozzie impersonating an elephant in the NOVA Dog cover dog contest!
What better way to affirm life?