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let's take the long way home


Donald McCaig
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Dear Fellow Doggers,

 

I have always envied women their profound friendships. Gail Caldwell's new book is a memoir of one such friendship: hers with writer Caroline Knapp, whose "Pack of Two" you may have read. "Pack of Two' told how sharing one's life with a dog can be transforming. Ms. Caldwell and Ms. Knapp met walking dogs and their friendship was nourished by long rambles with dogs.

 

No, it's not really about dogs. It's about those who live with and learn from dogs. Ms. Knapp died young of a fast moving cancer and like C. S. Lewis' "A Grief Observed" this book is about important matters we shy from until we can't.

 

Near her end, Caroline Knapp observed, " . .the only thing worse than losing your dog is knowing you won't outlive her."

 

Donald McCaig

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Near her end, Caroline Knapp observed, " . .the only thing worse than losing your dog is knowing you won't outlive her."

 

Oh, Donald....that rather trivializes everything else, doesn't it.

 

Regards,

nancy

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Oh, Donald....that rather trivializes everything else, doesn't it.

 

Regards,

nancy

I guess my take was essentially, "With regards to your dog, losing him/her is not as bad as worrying about leaving him/her" rather than minimizing all the other regrets and sadness of the author's impending demise.

 

My mother, an avid and true dog-lover all her life, would not have any pet in her later years, out of fear of passing on and not knowing that that pet would be provided for. Of course, it would have been (by me, if no one else), but she couldn't stand the thought of "deserting" a dog of her own.

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Oh, gotcha, I didn't look at it that way - how true! Thanks!

 

Besides, no matter how much we "talk" or what we "say", it's what we do and the results of what we do that really count.

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This is a book I won't dare read for awhile - it cuts a little close to the bone. When I first met Robin, I truly didn't know if I'd live at that point. Yes, it was an odd time to get a pup, and it's too long a story....just let that part go. My husband had already decided that we'd get a red and white male, if there was one born in the litter and sure enough there was just one...that Robin. We'd been for our "pre -pup" interview and the breeder had been to our house and met Ladybug and saw our situation, so it was pretty certain we were getting the pup. DH picked him out of the puddle of newborn puppies, put him in my hands and said, "This is your pup." This was just three weeks after the lung resection and I was almost strong enough to hold him - he might have been all of two pounds...! For weeks, I couldn't trust myself to get attached to him, thinking I might have to let him go at some point if the surgery or the chemo didn't work. When I brought him home, I added a codicil to my will, directing his care. And then, I took a deep breath and let his merry, mischievous spirit help to heal me.

 

And its why I always take Robin or Brodie with me when I visit my Mom, or my mother in law, who is in an assisted living facility. (Ladybug isn't fond of strange women and she stalks people who have tennis balls fitted on their walkers, so she doesn't go to the assisted living.) Brodie for all his reactivity with other dogs is a star in the nursing home. He has absolutely no fear of clanging wheel chairs, walkers, ringing bells, rubber gloved hands, IV poles, doctors in gowns, he's fine with it all. They don't mind people who have had strokes or memory problems or strange speech or shaking hands. They're not "official" therapy dogs. We're just strolling through on the way to see Grammie but Brodie and Robin stop to see everyone who wants to visit and we let each resident to have their moment to remember what it was like when they had their own dog.

 

Liz

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  • 5 months later...

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