We took Porter's ashes out to the lake today. We spent so much time walking the trails out there when we first moved to Lawrence and didn't have a yard. It felt good to leave her in a place she loved.
Walking back--in the freezing wind--Sweet Husband and I started talking about the special dogs that have been part of our lives. Odie for him, and, for me, a chow-lab-golden mix named Bum.
Bum arrived at our house a few weeks before I got home from spending the Summer with my dad. I was ten? Eleven? We lived in the country, and she was one of many who had been dumped. My mom didn't want to encourage her to set up camp by feeding her, but she could hardly deny her water in the middle of a Kansas summer.
She set up camp underneath our back porch regardless, but she shyly refused to make friends. Until I came home.
It's so weird how memory works. I couldn't tell you who my teachers were that year, but I remember the exact color of the dirt as I sat, cross-legged, on the ground waiting patiently for her to be brave enough to come out and take some food from my hand. Eventually she did, and five minutes later we were best friends.
She got me through seventh grade the same way Porter got me through my first year of law school. By having soft ears, a sympathetic expression, and the luckiest way of doing something hilarious when things seemed dire.
I like to think of them all--Bum, Odie, Porter--hanging out wherever it is that we all go, comparing notes on us, their silly humans.
And I like to think of the Kid and Moe. They aren't best friends yet, but--if Moe lays off the chocolate--some day they might be.
How do people get though life without dogs?