Thursday, April 20, 2017

Miss Penny Lane Danger

This is Miss Penny Lane Danger. She has been my constant companion for seven years. We got her when Elliott was still an infant, in diapers even, which is a ridiculously dumb thing to do. She was scheduled to be "destroyed" from an organization and a worker there transferred her to another shelter, then another, and then another until how she made it all the way to Mission Viejo. I didn't even know I wanted a dog but then one day, there was her face on my work computer. The shelter was hesitant to give her to us because we had small children. But we took her for a walk on their lawn and when she sat down to rest, Elliott toddled over to her and rested right on top of her, the two of them one heap on a patch of spotty grass. Oliver pulled on her ears and she let him. We took her home that day.

But she was almost 11 and that is very old for a Boxer. She had pesky old hips and a loose bladder. Her excitement to see me every time I came home was so great that she tinkled every time. Every damn time. She literally could not contain herself.

Her hips started to fail her about a year ago. She would fall over, so I carried  her to and from her bed, helping her up when she needed it. I bought her all the magic pills and chews for arthritis. I took her on shorter, slower walks. I laid down and read Mary Oliver to her. I hand fed her turkey and ham and all the things I forbid the boys from feeding her. She loved when I sang to her in the shower. She was a rapt audience.

On days when I was home all day in my writing room, shut up and pecking away furiously, she was at my feet. I talked to her constantly. I asked her questions. She followed me from room to room, coffee refill to lunch break in the yard. I have wept into the crook of that neck more times than I can count.

The thing about dogs is that they don't know how to be selfish. It is us, stupid humans, that do.

And the thing about dogs when they die is that they are not here to help you mourn.

I do not know how to mourn without Penny.

I have no neck crook to weep into.