Most people who follow my blog know that I lost my beloved dog The Beebs to old age last year. She was the perfect running buddy, and we ran thousands of trail miles together and many, many adventures. We were charged by a bear (once, and I peed my shorts, too) and moose (three times, and all three times I climbed trees). We ran so many trails: Lost Lake and the Historic Iditarod Trail down in Seward; Middle Fork and Powerline, Turnagain Pass and Flattop and Falls Creek and Bird Ridge Wolverine and on and on and on.
After she passed, I never thought I’d be able to love another dog.It was inconceivable. Who could ever compare to The Beebs?
But I’m a dog person and I’ll always be a dog person and last summer I realized that it was time to look for another dog. I checked the animal shelter almost daily, along with craigslist and rescue organizations, and while I did come across great dogs and beautiful dogs and endearing dogs and every kind of dog you could imagine, I didn’t come across my dog.
Then one day in mid-summer, a friend asked me on an impromptu evening trail run and even though I was tired from work I thought, ‘What the heck,’ because really, who can resist a trail run in the Alaska summer twilight?
My friend had also recently lost her dog and because she’s also a dog person, she brought along her neighbor’s dog, a Doberman/Lab mix of about five years.
I loved this dog almost immediately. There was something about her, a combination of the joy she exhibited as she ran through the brush and her personality, which was sweet and endearing, with a bit of sly cleverness thrown in. I loved the sly cleverness. Needless to say, I was smitten. But, sadly, she wasn’t my dog.
I ran with her a few more times, and the last time I said to Sarana, “This is my dog. I can just feel it.”
But of course she wasn’t my dog, and I knew this. Yet I couldn’t stop thinking about her. It’s as if I already carried her around inside my heart, as if in a sense we already belonged to each other (maybe this is what it’s like to fall in love with a married man?).
Months later, when I had given up on finding the perfect dog and was ready to settle for just any dog, I got a call from Seriously’s owner, a beautiful young woman with a beautiful 2-year-old daughter. She was off to captain a boat in Sitka and wanted to know if I could watch Seriously for six weeks?
“Yes,” I said. “Yes, yes, yes!”
And so Seriously came home with me. My partner soon fell in love with her, too. She fit inside our lives so easily, so smoothly. We took her on walks and runs, and she scattered toys around our living room and filled our days with so much joy.
When her owner came back, we returned Seriously and then picked her up a few weeks later, when her owner left for another captaining job.
That was last fall. Now we co-parent Seriously. We have her for a few days most weeks, and during those days we run and take long beach walks, we hide treats around the house for her to find (we call these “yummies”), and when we finally settle down in the living room with books and computers and movies, Seriously curls up beside me and places her warm head in my lap, and it’s the best of thing, having a dog to share my life with again.
It’s funny, isn’t it, how pets and people come into our lives, how they burrow inside our habits and daily routines, filling up the empty holes and leaving us so much richer, so much more blessed, than we ever thought possible.