Feebe circles and swivels for half an hour. She is trying to find the perfect position. She adjusts again, working hard to achieve a coveted resting spot, and I watch her through the corner of my eye. The lastima appears, a tiny trickle that will soon become a flood. It’s her simplicity, it’s her focused commitment, it’s that she feels safe enough here with me to totally surrender.
Then I realize: she seems old, really really old. We think Feebe is 10 although we can’t be certain because her paperwork is a fucking mess. Three times she was dumped at a city shelter - adopted and returned again and again, until giving up on her was the only reality. I happened to be there for the third time. She looked at me and she chose me and I still don’t know why. But all I had to do was say yes.
Feebe is twisting around again; will she ever find coziness? She kurplunks and exhales, ahhh, now it’s just right. Her bones are weary and her hip dysplasia is advancing and her eyes are clouded, and finally she can set it all down. But I smile at her. Suddenly you’d think she was a puppy, her tail thumps and she wiggles and she can’t help it, she rises. It aches and she’s sluggish but still she comes to me. She abandons her prime placement because I am there and my hand is outstretched. Because my face is an invitation she can trust, one she will never decline. Because we speak the language of lastima, a soft mushiness that I feel for her and also that she feels for me.
No matter who you are, your dog will offer herself up to you with a love so fierce nothing, not even age, not even creaky joints, will slow her down. No matter who you are, your dog will be the product of your time and your energy, of how much of an investment you make in them. And no matter how many times you fail, she will be willing. And no matter how tired, she will make her way to you just because you called. Even if it hurts. Even if she’s comfy. Even if you aren’t worth the exertion. To her, you are.
All you have to do is say yes.
p.s. Please adopt from your local shelter. It’s not their fault we suck.
p.p.s. And please consider adopting a senior pet - they are THE BEST! They are moving pillows.