Friday, September 20, 2013

Dogs Never Lie

In times of joy, all of us wished we possessed a tail we could wag.
~ W.H. Auden

Madison would be freaking out right now if she were here to see this flood.  She would be tempted to get in the creek but she would hesitate; tuned into the water’s raging energy; connected to the heightened turmoil around her.  She was sensitive like that; dialed in before others even knew. 
Like the time she made a big fuss of dragging her blanket and pillow around to my side of the bed so she could sleep next to me.  I noticed the change right away, and I wondered out loud if perhaps I had cancer, or some terrible malaise, because I had heard about dogs that can sense these things.  A few days later I learned that I was pregnant.  She continued to drag her bed around to my side for weeks until one day she didn’t; and, again, I wondered out loud if everything was okay with the baby.  A few days later I miscarried.  She didn’t drag her bed around to my side after that, but she stayed close and loved me through my tears.
One time she charged to the edge of the yard and scared the dickens out of our neighbor.  She could be intimidating with her stocky frame—almost 100 pounds and mostly muscle—but Madison just wanted to say hello.  We knew her approach could use some work; still, she went too far that time and she knew better, so when her daddy scolded her bad choice she put herself in time-out; cowering on the little mat in front of the soaking tub in the master bath, shaking and shivering in her remorse.  She wanted to do right, she really wanted to do right, and it killed her to think that she had disappointed us.

But she could never really disappoint us, not for long anyway.  No matter the infraction, just one look at her cute little mug and soon we were laughing at her heartfelt expressions.  She could be a real drama queen sometimes.  Mostly, we just loved her and cherished every minute we shared. 
Before I came along she was her daddy’s best friend, but she welcomed me with loving paws and big wet kisses.  She even let me paint her toenails in my favorite shades –“Party-in-my-Cabana” pink for the summer and “Fa-La-La-Luscious” for the holidays.  From the way she watched me beautify, I imagined that she secretly wanted to join me in my primping.  And when she walked down the aisle as the honorary ring bearer for our New Year’s Eve nuptials, wearing a big red flower behind her ear, I couldn’t have loved her more if I had given birth to her myself.  I hope she knew that.

When she left her condo in the city for mountain dwelling, we teased that she was living the high life in her new retirement home.  More than bacon and eggs—more than anything—she loved being outdoors, and she moved freely between meditations in the sun, chasing sticks and mindless rambling by the creek.  Madison taught me so much about living, about the joy of routine and unconditional love, about seizing each moment and never being afraid to ask for what you want.   I envied her life.
Sometimes I still hear the tap of her nails on the hardwood floors and I turn to call her name.  Then I remember.  But like the whispering wind that moves the trees and urges the water downstream, we’ll carry her loving spirit in our hearts forever. 
Photos by Lori Kennedy Photography.  (c) 2012 Lori Kennedy.