TurtleDove, and, beyond a “bucket list”….
Each day with TurtleDove is special, her followers can understand why- goodness she is a hoot! And, with prior foster dogs, each day was cherished too, but I knew they would go on and live millions of moments with their new family. Their futures would outlast these times with us, not painting over them, but, expanding them into a tapestry; a new family created, a new world to unfold. With TurtleDove and her terminal cancer, this is it. I’m the best she gets, and, we are her only pack and family. The pressure! The little things in our daily lives ARE her life! And, for my other dogs, this is true as well as who ever knows how long anyone has left? For this reason, we have begun to get up early and explore (and none of us but my senior shepherd are early birds), as often as possible. So far it has been hikes and parks but we are looking for other new activities. The rewards? Bountiful. For one, they get to live a “wild life”, what every dog deserves to experience. For me, I get to learn how to join them, for moments at a time, in the present.
Since the day she came, TurtleDove has reminded me that dogs are able to “live in the moment”. She has no use for wallowing over the six years of being overbred and neglected. There is no use for the apology she will never get from those who exploited her. TurtleDove has no anger or resentment over having (to me what seems as very unfair) health issues (numerous we were able to help her heal from and one we can’t) including terminal mammary carcinoma. Now is what matters to TurtleDove. And, this is such a gift to watch. Imagine if humans could have this mental fortitude and graciousness? Not just for the world around us, for ourselves as well.
But, I am a person, a human, and, thinking ahead and already not wanting to forget anything. I know, I suck! I need to learn from her, to live in the moment. I’m trying, it doesn’t happen overnight! So, I will take a few paragraphs to describe what I love about TurtleDove on a day to day basis. I’m sorry friends, I get fearful I will forget. I need these letters and punctuations to be sure the memories are etched forever. I have so many photos too, and, thank goodness the old adage is true, they do speak a thousand words so I won’t ramble on forever. They say that you photograph what you are afraid to lose…look into my photos, you can see where my heart is and fear lie.
Ok, here we go. The letters, the words. What I love. What I cannot forget.
I will miss TurtleDove’s wiggling body running towards me for the first hug of the morning- knocking things out of the way, an off balanced silverback gorilla, running to me like I hold the million dollar lottery ticket or am Mother Teresa. I will miss the way she sleeps like a huge warm baked potato next to me, sinking into the mattress heavily, and snoozing gently, and letting me hold her chubby paw (PawtoPalm). I’ll miss weeding and her sitting next to me chomping on the grass, my squatty cow. The way Turtle wags her tail when laying down when I am talking to any of the dogs- the give away that she is awake. Last night TD was wagging her tail in her dreaming sleep, and, this woke me up (what kind of pureness of joy in the moment is more genuine than this?). I’ll miss the way she skids out when she runs, like an off the track locomotive, hustling quickly to keep up with her pack. I always know when it is TurtleDove running because she sounds like an rhino in clogs. I’ll miss her broad broad back that makes you pat her hard or just hug her comfortably, and, how whenever she eats or drinks her jowls leave a trail of food or water behind. I will miss the way TurtleDove spins in circles before getting in the car, or, her morning breakfast and how she wags her tail all the way through eating. I will miss her bad ass bark protecting our home, our pack family, and the way she makes me feel safe. I’ll miss the way she draws attention from the most unlikely people and welcomes them all the same- when she meets small children- or the elderly, she is extra careful with her powerful body and sloppy kisses.
I’m not sure I will miss the random farts (if you think you heard a fart you did), and her burps in your face, but, I will miss the way she searches your eyes when she sees you are sad, or, worries about things like a woman crying on Law and Order on the television. I will miss laughing and shaking my head at how she randomly sits on her pack members-Paisley, Lova, or even me…and, with her backing up to take a seat, there ought to be a “beep beep beep” like construction trucks because she is a huge load to have sit on you. I will miss noticing how her back feet look like piggy hooves. I will miss that spot on TurtleDove’s face (below her eye and above her jowl) that is curved for lips to kiss, and, the way she rolls on her back and waves her T-rex arms in the air, mouth wide open, like she just doesn’t care! Also, I will miss the way she tucks all of her paws in when she lays on the couch and how she lays sideways like a seal when she is outside.
I will miss, or maybe not, how she is “on to me”, and has stopped posing and looks everywhere but at the camera, and I mean everywhere….while her counterpart (Paisley- a reincarnated teen girl-always aware of where the camera is- always smiling that oh so perfect smile) grins at the camera, knowing its giving her a “one up”, which is all Paise really wants in life. I will miss seeing TurtleDove with Paise, always trying to goad her into a romp, putting up with this chihuahua dangling from her jowl. I will miss her patience with Patty as he licks and grooms her, TD leaning in, even if its not so fun having a neurotic male terrier sticking his tongue in your hacked off ear. I will miss TurtleDove’s camaraderie with Lova, as well as her respect and back up beta behavior for her alpha leader.
Starting on her bucket list, I am loving it. I devour the moments of TurtleDove’s astonishment at the vast world. The way she runs straight to the water at the beach, abandon to the wind, open to all the newness. And, how she huffs and puffs up hills on hikes pressing on with determination, then runs like a piggly wiggly down the hill as if life is all downhill!
Perhaps biggest for other rescue dogs and her breed (and, really for people too), and, why I really want others to know TurtleDove, is the way this giant pitbull completely redefines beautiful, and, how being lovely is way beyond the exterior. TurtleDove also disempowers the thought to judge a dog for their breed, looks, age, size, where they come from, and the years they lived before. This dog is loveliness and this dog is peace. TurtleDove is #Beautiful.
Ok friends, its time to focus on the moment…..so we have our daily life and some new adventures……what are some bucket list moments you can suggest for us?
Thank you for reading and hugs to you from us.