Now, there is no dog in my house.
Little guest Gus has gone home.
Foster boy Toby and his rambunctious energy has gone to his next foster station.
Hailey…dear olde grrl…said farewell on March 8. There are no canine distractions to block my heartache.
I waved goodbye to overjoyed Gus riding shotgun with his beaming mom this morning. Then I closed the gate and headed back to the cabin, climbed the steps and walked across the patio, past remnants of toss-it sticks and a solo florescent green soccer-sized ball. I stepped through the door and closed it behind me. And stopped.
No dog danced at my return. No dog lifted her head from a blanket-covered couch. No dog rushed to the toy basket to grab a run-around. A few leashes and a harness hung from the rack next to the door across the room.
I sighed and stepped past the kitchen where no “treats?” face looked at me. I walked down the hallway to my bedroom where all the big-dog beds are piled below the window, looking like a prop from the set of “The Princess and the Pea.” No dog napped on my bed.
I turned around and entered my office. There was no dog curled up in my dad’s armchair. I sat down at my computer and no dog nosed my hand to make sure there wasn’t something more interesting I should be doing, like going for a walk, scratching a furry chin, or maybe returning to That Good Space from where all food comes.
I wept. The always-there was gone. The snore, the running dream, the alarm bark at invisible invaders, the teeth-grinding pulse on a faux-bone between paws. Gone.
No body stretched out in a sun spot on the carpet. No warm fuzzy butt to reach down and stroke. No breathing. No heart. No companion.
What will I discover in the space between no dog and another dog? Friends will bring dogs to play tomorrow, and the day after I will help dogs learn how to trust other dogs. Little Gus returns later this month for another Camp Vashon adventure. And other canine guests arrive later this spring.
In between, I will remember the loves who sunned on the patio, the loves who patiently waited or sneaked into the kitchen during meal prep, the loves who bounded across the meadow just for the joy of it. The loves who taught me how to love the next loves. The loves who loved me every time they saw me.