JD Allinder

Play Date!

In Posts on July 26, 2009 at 5:45 pm

Jane and ElsaToday was yet another gorgeous Michigan summer day: sunny, breezy, and completely life affirming. Jane and I slept late, ate breakfast, caught up on reading, and then walked to Riverside Park in downtown Ypsi for a play date with Jane’s best friend, Elsa. Jane worships Elsa, and she loves Elsa’s mom, Elena, who today brought hot dogs and blueberries for the pups.

The GirlsThe dogs ran and played, and Elsa once again demonstrated for Jane the joys of jumping off the pier into the river. Jane summoned the courage for a couple of leaps, but quickly grew bored and opted instead for chasing and treeing imaginary beasts.

Jane and Elsa Swimming

Elsa is a wonderful dog, and she and Jane truly form an extended pack. Jane respects Elsa’s higher rank, and Elsa likes the attention. Elsa’s very sweet to Jane, though she doesn’t hesitate putting her in her place when she thinks it’s called for. In many ways the two dogs are polar opposites – Jane’s a live wire while Elsa’s as relaxed as a Buddha – but they’re complementary and they’ve grown to, if not love each other, feel whatever the canine equivalent is.

I’ve been friends with Elena for four or five years. She lives in the ‘hood, teaches English, and loves dogs as much as I do. When we met, we both had mixed breed dogs – Georgia and Arlo – who were about the same age and temperament. Georgia was my first dog as a grown-up, and Arlo was Elena’s first. The foundation of our friendship, Elena’s and mine, was our intense, spiritual connection to our dogs. She and I are as different from each other as Jane and Elsa, but we share a respect, understanding, and deep need for communion with animals, especially dogs, and that’s always bound us together.

About a year and a half ago, Arlo suddenly got sick and died. Elena was devastated. She mourned Arlo’s passing for months. About the same time Georgia became ill. Unlike Arlo, Georgia’s decline was gradual. She took ten months to die. In some ways I’m thankful that I had those ten months to prepare for Georgia’s death. In other ways, though, I think Elena was blessed to have Arlo taken from her so quickly. I’d never experienced grief like I did when Georgia died. Nothing really prepared me for it either. I still haven’t got over it, and I don’t think I ever will. It’s just something I’ve learned to live with, just like Elena’s learned to live in a world without Arlo.

But then along came Elsa and Jane. Both are rescued dogs who’ve taught us to love again. The best part is that, just like Arlo and Georgia before them, Elsa and Jane have bonded, and Elena and I have once again bonded over our shared joy. I’m sure our new dogs will change our lives as dramatically as our first dogs did. Eventually, though, they’ll leave us, devastated. But we’ll rise from the ashes and love again and again until we finally join the whole pack in the sweet hereafter.

The Girls Again

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  1. dad finally showed me how to comment on your blogs i think they are great im learning so much about ypsilanti and also about my son keep up the good work.

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