Monday, October 04, 2010

So Long, Old Friend

It's taken me two weeks to recover enough to blog about this.  The Friday night I was dancing in New Orleans, Piper passed.  I was out of town so my grieving process was delayed.  When I returned home, I hit the ground running with work, school and teaching.

Piper was a total ploy.  Holly was three, a girl I worked with had dalmatian puppies, and I decided Holly needed a playmate.  (Holly tore a path of destruction through our lives as an only dog, destroying boots, videotapes, leather jackets, etc.)  And, in truth, I thought Andrew deserved his own dog.  So I spent weeks convincing him to just go look at the puppies with me, and I eventually sold him on buying one.  He rolled with the stinky puppies like a five year-old, and I selected Piper.  We brought her home and she and Holly bonded quickly.  Holly was smart and cranky, Piper was dumb and happy.

When Holly passed, Piper didn't seem lonely.  We brought Felicity home the day after Holly died, and Piper was very accepting.  Felicity would coerce her into making games.  They slept on each other and groomed one another.  As Piper got older, Felicity would let her sleep and went about her own business.  But she has a lot of lonely moments now that Piper is gone and I haven't found the right pup to add to our pack.

Piper started having physical problems a few years ago.  Her hips were messed up, she had skin issues, she had trouble with her ears.  She had more good days than bad days, but she slipped while running into the kitchen for treats more times than she successfully jumped through a hoop.  We knew we were wearing out another dog, and we were glad we didn't have to have her put down.

The grieving process has been strange for me.  Piper was very much Andrew's dog, but I spent a lot of time with her when my employment changed last summer.  She would curl up by my feet under the desk while I trolled the Internet for work.  She got used to having me around for the 10:30am stretch in the yard.  When I got work, she'd bark when I got home before Felicity woke up, and she usually got an extra minute or two in the yard before we were joined by Felicity.  It's the change of routine that chokes me up.  She was always there, even if she was underfoot.  I'm hoping that tomorrow will be the first Tuesday since it happened that I won't have a breakdown in my living room between work and school.

But we cope.  And we deal.  And I keep hunting for a mixed breed pup that will fit in with us, even if Andrew isn't ready yet.

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