I just had to have it when I saw it in the storefront window. Seeing the picture flooded me with memories.
We record moments because we think it may be important. Sharing one’s mind with others through the written word, often wondering, will they care? Is what I have to say important? We draw because that's how we share, our brushstrokes careful in placemat, thoughtful while in motion. Our mind transferred to canvas, paper, how we see the world. Will they see it too? We run, wind in hair. Hike, thighs burning up tree-lined hills just because. We hope another sees us for us, loves us because it's right.
We share, often with the four legged kind. Not human, yet still family, canine teeth, a bark to tell us, a whine to express, a cocked head expressive.
I wasn’t lucky. No man showed up with soul mate haloed over his head. I searched, tried, cried, loved, lost, and my longest male relationship was with another species, a canine. We connected, loved, lived, laughed, smiled, and understood each other. His smile was scary at first, teeth bared; little did I know then he was happy, couldn’t actually curl his lips up. I outlived him as expected, yet it was the best fourteen and a half years of my life. I was with my then life mate when I met him. He wasn't the German Shephard of my dreams; he was a mixed breed. Placed in my hands after a night at the bar with my alcoholic mate. Determination a stubborn trait, I vowed not to fall for him. Half McNab, bred for herding cattle, he softened my German Shephard heart and fit in the palm of my hand.
The relationship with the human ended, and I felt lucky with custody of Kada, along with all the bills. We ran, backpacked, hiked, camped, and lived. When I discovered he wasn’t affected by the weight of his pack, he carried my stuff. When he woke me up in the middle of the night while camping by some mellow barking, I shushed him. When morning came and a few neighbors’ ice chests were broken into, he was smug, I swear. I’d talk to him as if human and explain things I thought necessary, and I’d be damned if he didn’t know what I was saying. “Don’t bark if people are just walking by the campground, only if they come inside. Here’s the boundary.” Yeah, a smug, I told you so look. I felt dumb.
“Kada, you’re making a mess. Pick that up.” He did. I was astounded with a classic mouth open in surprise.
“Kada, when we get to the top of the hill, before we get to camp, I’ll let you run down the hill, just remind me.” My friend Lala looked at me as if I was wasting words. When I got to the top of the hill and forgot, Kada lifted his head from the back of the truck, realizing, and barked a loud, “Woof” once.
“Oh crap, Kada, sorry.” As I stopped, he promptly jumped down and started running. Lala was caught with her mouth open.
I lived alone, so no one could hear me talking to him like a human. I didn’t say, “Come.” I said, “Come here for a sec.” He did. He knew me better than anyone, and after a while, we often didn’t need words. A look would do it. He’d smile at me. I didn’t say, “Heel.” I said “Let’s go for a walk. When a car comes, walk by my side.” He did. He opened the gate for me by pawing the bottom, and when the gate bounced open, he’d stick his head in and open the rest.
Memories of Kada flooded me. Lala, who was with me, and she knew what I was thinking. She proclaimed that Kada was so smart, he read books.
Memories are priceless. I walked into the store. “How much is that picture in the window?”
I walked out without the picture. Memories are priceless. I was lucky.
Jacquelyn Hewitt Blue Collar Dog oil pastel
click image to enlarge
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