In 2005 my wife and I made our way to the beautiful Hawaiian Islands. While there we visited the Hilo side of The Big Island of Hawaii. I remember getting out of our rental car and seeing a man, probably in his fifties, tanned leather like with scraggly hair and beard, shirtless talking to another fella. He would every so often get a stick from a little dog running up and he’d throw it down a hill and continue the conversation with the other man.
I remember this because I wanted it. Not the tan, the age, the dog, locale or even the beard (If you haven’t noticed, I can grow a serious beard without the want to.)
NO, what I wanted was that moment. The moment of throwing a ball or a stick and having a dog fetch it.
Last night a friend of mine posted on Facebook that she was feeling disappointed. I didn’t know the story but knowing her not to be one of the “everything is over the top” posters we all know I figured it wasn’t good.
Then, this morning I saw that what was disappointing her was the disappearance of her dogs. One finally made it back to the house late last night but the other one, as of right now, is still missing.
My heart sank into my stomach, jumped around a little bit and then moved up into the lower part of my esophagus and sat there. I cannot imaging what she is going through. I can get close, as I have had to say goodbye to pets in my life in various ways but to have a beloved family dog out there, wandering the streets or passed on without our knowing, that is just a hellacious way to spend any time at all.
Now, some of you may be reading this thinking, “It’s a dog. It’s just a dog.” For those of you thinking that way, God bless you for your ability to set those boundaries in your mind and compartmentalize emotions. You are free to stop reading this post. I promise you won’t understand anything else written.
Brooke, my friend missing a dog, lives with her husband in Texas. We went to high school together back in Missouri but haven’t seen each other since, well, the mid nineties.
However, thanks to the marvels of social media, we entered back into one another’s lives living vicariously through posts about dogs or tattoos or roller derby or more dogs stuff. (The Roller Derby stuff and MOST of the tattoo stuff is hers. I’m more of a dog post kind of guy but most of you know that.)
As the day went on today I kept checking in to see if there was any news on her other dog showing back up. To this point, nothing.
I was thinking it would be great if I could do something for her and husband in their search. I don’t really know anyone else in her part of Texas so there was no posting or Facebook. Then it hit me.
I went out into the back yard with my boy Pops and we played fetch. We played for about forty-five minutes… that was when he hit his limit and decided to drop in the middle of the yard with ball in mouth.
I played fetch with Pops as a sort of prayer of solidarity for Brooke. I knew there wasn’t any comfort I could bring that would really count… I’ve been on the receiving end of such things and if I am honest, the words usually don’t do as much as we let on. I remember when my dog Ruby Sue passed I could only think of how much I wished we’d walked more or played with the frisbee a little longer. I didn’t need words from others as much as I needed missed opportunities to be handed over to me as if from a time travel device. So, in a mode of remembrance for beloved pets I’ve lost and for those that friends have lost (and for Brooke’s dog where ever she may be) I played fetch.
Today I give my #thisiscrazylove2016 to Brooke and her husband because I know that feeling well enough to know that love is what they need… Almost as much as their loved one staggering back into the house, exhausted but safe.