You may see the imprint in fresh snow and I see an imprint in my heart. Every time I look out my back door and see those footprints I'm reminded of how I'm loved, cared for and the kindness that has been bestowed on me by my husband once again. That's a dog walking path. A dog being walked by a guy who didn't want a dog.
You see our last dog Jiggs lived to be over fifteen years of age. She was a dearly loved Golden retriever and a part of our family since the girls we were very young. She had been "the" family pet. She was a great dog. We loved her so much, we let her hang on probably six months too long. She'd had a stroke. We thought she would die but after a couple of bad days she carried on, a bit lopsided but carried on as normal. Normal except for the fact she could no longer navigate stairs. So she couldn't be let outside on her own. Being a nearly hundred pound dog, it was left to Barry to carry her down the stairs, wait outside with her, then carry her back in. As I write this it sounds ridiculous, but at the time it seemed perfectly logical. Caring for a dying pet, or so we thought. It wasn't until my sister and her family visited that it became blatantly clear that we were hanging on to her and she was hanging on for us. So we made the decision that pet owners dread and said a fond farewell to our beloved Jiggs. It was extremely hard on all of us. Many tears were shed, our house felt so lonely and morbid.
I wanted a dog immediately. Barry did not.
He had very logical and good reasons why not. He had just gone though so much care and attention with Jiggs he wasn't ready to embrace being a pet owner again. He pointed out that in just one year we would be empty nesters, and would be free to come and go as we liked. He also reminded me that everyone in our immediate family who had housed Jiggs while we were away, had recently passed away. And finally we had a house free of dog hair and my Mr.Clean husband loved that.
He had extremely good points, well most of them anyway. I, on the other hand could hardly articulate my need for a dog. It was visceral. It was deep, and longing, I had to have a dog.
We talked, he wasn't budging and neither was I. This was unusual in our marriage, we had built our relationship on compatibility and the willingness to compromise. We had hit an impasse.
With time passing and Meghan and Jerri on my side, we eventually came to a decision that our family would have a dog again; but it would be "my" dog. Full and complete ownership. That meant: selecting, buying, training, feeding, walking, vet visits, lodging while we are away, and finally cleaning up after her. We had an agreement.
Being grateful and true to my word, I gladly did all of those things and boy did he hold me to it. That was until I became so bedridden or couch ridden, I couldn't. Three neurosurgeries later and Barry has put in a lot of time with "my" Whinnie. His will to stay detached from her gradually wore away as she made it into his heart, as he reluctantly carried out feeding, walking and generally caring for her.
He has grown to love her, thankfully she's a smart and loving dog. She knows how to give back.
So now that I'm healed from the surgeries you would think the onus is on me again. The snow and ice has kept me inside for the most part, so once again Barry is responsible for her daily romp through the woods.
She waits by the window for him to return from work and off they go into the woods.
So when I see that trail through the snow, I know I'm loved, and I know she is too.