when i was little, we didn't have a pet. if you want to get all technical about it, we had a cat. but that was more of a psycho toe biting monster than a pet. i used to get horrendous bouts of pink eye whenever i got in contact with pet dander and my poor saint of a mother was probably too overwhelmed with two children (and a husband that acted like a child 99 percent of the time) for any more living, breathing responsibilities.
since i didn't have the experience of growing up with a dog, i was scared of them for the vast majority of my childhood. i never had a bad experience with a dog, i just think the fear of the unknown just dug down deep and took hold. after all, i'm no stranger to illogical paranoid type problems.
somewhere in my late high school-early college years, i started coming around to dogs. i think that was due to the fact that i was spending more and more time with my friends and those friends pretty much all had dogs. and none of those dogs lived up cujo lore. instead, i found them to be sweet, furry babies with personalities all their own.
when i met the boy, he had another lady in his life. a lady by the name of gracie. she was 60 some pounds of wild woman, all bound up in tan fur. gracie and i soon became kindred spirits with personalities that mirrored each other. wildly neurotic with a stubborn streak and a love for early bedtimes. the boy and i frequently joked that if we ever split up, she'd be all mine. she may have started out out his leading lady, but her allegiances ran deep for me.
gracie's like a boss. you know, if zena the warrior princess met governor christie in dog form. she's protective and would rip the throat out of anyone who tried to cross me. she holds down the fort when the boy is away. yet, she's got a woman's intuition and knows when i'm sick or feeling down. she's not one for cuddles, but she's always right by my side. she's my pseudo child and i love her like no other.
early last week, we found a lump on her hip. it's probably nothing, but the nagging "what ifs" have been creeping into my thoughts all week. for lack of a better explanation, the lump is a scratch on her warrior exterior. it reminds me that she's not immortal. she won't be by my side forever. if i think about this for too much longer, i'll be in tears.
it's kind of funny how life works. as we age, we invest more and more time into the people that we care about the most. we grow up, we fall in love, and we surround ourselves with a handful of people that we truly couldn't live without. but what happens when you have to live without one of the special few?