I was laying in bed last night listening to one of my dogs dreaming and this book title popped into my head. I couldn't just let it swim around in there so I started writing this story in my head too. I fell asleep and lost part of it but I'm going to post what I've put on paper today to see if it's as interesting outside my head as it was inside. I'll be showing up in segments. I don't know if I'll finish it or not. Let me know if you like it.
The day the puppy arrived, I was sleeping on the sofa. I slept on the sofa a lot in those days, an overly sedated, depression medication induced sleep. I’d had a call earlier in the day from my husband asking if I wanted a puppy. I asked all the pertinent questions: what breed, how old, why are they getting rid of it? At that time, I was the local clearinghouse for unwanted animals. People had dropped off dogs, cats, poultry and even goats. Some were just dropped in the driveway without any notice or comment, others were accompanied by a sad story. There were days when I’d go outside to find some new animal wandering around. Some found new homes; others stayed. It didn’t matter to me. I liked the company.
I obtained the answers I wanted from my husband and agreed to take the puppy. “Your puppy”, he said. Mine. That was a novel idea since nothing in that house was mine anymore. Anything that previously had been mine now belonged to him or his kids. The thought of something actually being mine again almost made me happy. The prospective new puppy was said to be a German Shepherd whose dam was a show dog. The father was a passerby mix of Lab, Pointer, Springer and, as I discovered later, Great Pyrenees. My dog, my potential new friend, something to love me. I started thinking up names for the puppy. It was hard to do having not yet met him but I wanted to name my dog and ever since becoming a part of that household, I hadn’t been allowed to name anything except my goat. I wanted a good name that was meaningful and reflective of me.
I’d never had a puppy. My family always had cats. My father had a dog here and there along the way but never an inside dog and they never stayed long. The one I remember best was an English Setter that he brought home to keep as a bird dog. Nice idea except the dog was gun shy, seriously gun shy. Instead, she stayed tied up in the back yard or in the garage for about a year until he found her a new home. The nice thing about that dog was that walking her made an excellent excuse to sneak off and spend time with the boy I liked who lived up the street. We never did bond, the dog and I, nor the boy and I for that matter.
I’d settled back down to drug induced napping when my husband’s dog started barking. We didn’t need a door bell; we had a dog. Door bell dog was announcing the arrival of Erich who wasn’t yet Erich but was instead a quivering, nervous, black ball of puppiness who was dumped unceremoniously into my arms with little conversation or fanfare. I took him into the house, showed him the water bowl and dug out a food bowl from the dark hole where miscellaneous feeding containers were confined until needed. He ate, he drank. He looked mournful. He looked anxious. I named him Erich, for the son I’d put up for adoption 13 years prior. A new baby named for my lost baby. I took him to the sofa and we both laid down and took a nap. Together.