"It's as if a great bird lives inside the stone of our days and since no sculptor can free it, it has to wait for the elements to wear us down, till it is free to fly." Mark Nepo

Sunday, December 21, 2008

A Year, Already!

Well, that year went fast. Impossibly so. There's nothing to mark how much can change in twelve months quite like a puppy, and most especially our Toby.

Just a year ago Walt and I were bringing Toby home. An adorable armful of sweet butterscotch fluff who quickly turned our expectations, our lives, and our home inside out, upside down,  and every which way but what we thought we were getting.

After sleepless months of futile effort to crate train him, Toby decided to sleep in his open crate on the patio. Since the recent cold snap, he's been sleeping in the house - anywhere he decides to land. As I write this he's sleeping on (yes, on) our bed. In fact Walt just called me to come see Toby on "his" bed. The one he allows us to use at night, apparently.

I finally gave up trying to rescue the cats from his no-holds-barred, dog nose to cat tail chases. Somewhere along the line they stopped running, so he had nothing to chase. He satisfies that urge now with squirrels and birds and shadows on the other side of the fence. 

The cats love him, or at least tolerate his presence - depending on which of the three we're talking about. Emma, the queen of the household, who doesn't like anyone, including me sometimes, adores Toby. Sometimes in a sort of inappropriate creepy way - but it works for them, so who am I to judge?

We've reached a compromise with the whole walking on a leash business. I don't take him for long strolls in the park with a beautifully slack leash connecting us in a lovely symbolic way. He tolerates the leash for the distance it takes to get to get to the campground and river, where I can release him. He checks in with me (and to claim his treat) regularly. I walk happily. We both have fun.

I'm really grateful that neither Walt nor I verbalized our separate and identical fears that we had acquired the wrong dog. That we might have made a huge mistake. That we might need to consider giving him to a family who could appreciate his independence and strong will.

"That face!"

"Look at him!"

"Come see! Isn't he amazing?"

Every day we fall in love with him a little bit more. I'm not exactly sure when I reached the place where I need the smell of his sweet wild fur and the mischievous gleam of his bright eyes and the smile of his under-bit mouth to feel whole. But I'm there.

He's most certainly not the dog I thought we were getting. He's not even the dog I thought we wanted. He is, exactly, the dog who completes this family and who reflects a rich and abundant part of my inner being I didn't even know existed. He is, always, his own dog, and yet he chooses, always, to be delighted with my company. He is fully physical, completely in the moment, and forgives instantly. Lessons I continue to learn.

All that in a year.


Angie Ledbetter said...

I think he's training you two very nicely! :)

M said...

It is so hard to believe it has been a year since Toby met his uncle Mark. :) I am so happy that he has so richly blessed you...and taught you a few lessons about "you" along the way. It is truly amazing the way that God chooses to speak to us.

I Love You

(Tell Toby I'll see him in a few days)

Carrie Wilson Link said...

All that in a year - that's a lot! I need to take a lesson from your cats, if you stop running, you'll stop being chased!

Jerri said...

Unbelievable growth in a year. For you both.

Love you.

Terry said...

Great post. So jealous. I am itching for a snow day--a big one!

She said...

Wow! What a great pup! I love how the cats relate to his bundle of energy!

And how he took over the bed is priceless! (At least as an observer! Maybe not so much on your end?!)

kario said...

I love that he has taught you about control (or the illusion of control, at any rate) and that he is completely oblivious that he might not be just as big a part of this family as he deserves to be, with all the attendant rights. We should all be so confident.

Love you all!