Wednesday, December 21, 2011


A few weeks ago, during "dog time".  I had a dose of reality and it all started with a gray whisker.  Lemme 'splain...

Just so you know, my definition of "dog time" is a secret, quiet time with my dogs that no one I know really knows actually happens.  Because it happens when no one else is around.  But, I'm spilling the beans now.... and.... If you are anything like me, you like steal away from the rest of the world and have these quiet moments with your pets, too.  Dog time at my house looks a lot like this:

My husband works every third night.  My kids go to bed by 8pm.  And dog time begins.  Now, this isn't the only time I spend with my dogs, but this is just our secret dog nerdiness time where we can completely geek out.  No plan, no agenda, no rules.  We just hang.  Sometimes we train dorky tricks, other times we just curl up and veg together.  We sync our breathing.  We stare at each other.  We just be.

This whole mess started a few weeks ago during dog time with Vegas, my 7 year old Belgian Malinois.  I was tickling his face when I saw IT.  IT stopped my heart for a split second.  I mean really, I've seen things like IT before, but I wasn't ready for IT... at all.  Not IT.  Not on this dog.

What is IT?  Well, IT is a solid gray whisker on the very black mask of my wonderfully perfect dog.

Now, Vegas is not exactly a spring chicken in dog years... but he is very athletic and lean and physically fit.  He stills acts and seems very young.  He thinks young.  He learns young.  Gray hairs sprouted on his chin as early as four years of age and lately soft white hairs have bloomed on his knee caps and feet.  So, a gray whisker, no big deal, right?  Ugh.  That whisker just knocked me out.

Last week, he got his Christmas Portraits taken by a professional photographer.  He loves to pose and will do so for hours if you want him to.  The portrait came in.  He is absolutely gorgeous.  Stunning.  A handsome fellow.  But all I see is IT.  I can't believe IT made an appearance.  IT lives.  Can you find IT?:

Do you see IT?:

How 'bout now?:

 Yep.  There IT is.

Something about IT made me spend the rest of our dog time remembering, recapturing and cherishing every moment with this dog.  Not necessarily heart-breaking or sad.  Just a dose of reality.  A dose of vulnerability.  This whisker... IT... made me realize that my smartest, fastest, strongest dog I've ever known is not only all of those things, but also vulnerable and mortal... and won't last forever.  I'm so grateful for the dog time I have with these special souls in my life.  They have so much to give, you know?  And it is my pleasure to love each and every whisker... even the gray ones.  No, especially the gray ones.  Every bit of their whisker-ness....

1 comment:

  1. Oh, I am so in love with this piece. You are still a teacher because I learn from your writing. And I remember when (not so long ago?) you got that Vegas pup and brought him up to school-- all ears that he apparently never totally grew into. I was shocked to read that he is 7. How do these things happen? I am afraid to blink or my 9-month-old pup will be all grown up too. I think I'll go have some "dog time" with him. Thank you.