Sunday, December 1, 2013

About a dog...

We bought a house and in 2005 and before we closed escrow we rescued a dog.  She was kind of ugly; black with a white chest, a mixture of lab and pit bull.  She was about 9 months old and had her first litter of four.  She had never seen grass before she met us - she had lived in east LA in a home with no yard.  Before they abandoned her they named her Pinky.  We thought better of it and named her Maggie.

She was incredibly obedient.  She was also sometimes naughty.  She loved us.  She was patient with children.  She adored cats.  She opened up the sliding doors to let herself out for potty breaks (she never closed it).  She only got up on our bed when we weren't home.  She ignored other dogs and people when we went walking and she didn't need a leash.  She ate through six pairs of black flats and one brown pair in the first few years of living with us - and then she stopped.  She had this way of putting her nose down in the grass, especially if it was dewy, and pushing herself through it with her hind legs. She loved the park and she loved grass.  She loved to run after the ball and was so proud of herself when she brought it back.  Every time I sat down in bathroom she would come running and back herself up into my hands so that I could scratch her rear end.  As soon as we went to sleep she would go through the kitchen trash, or the bathroom trash...

I'm sure you have a pet like Maggie.

She drove us nuts and we loved her.

She was killed while crossing the street on Saturday the 19th of October.  Todd was outside gardening and Maggie was with him as always.  The neighbors called him over and she stayed behind.  And then she must've realized she wanted to go with him and started to cross the street.  The neighbors saw it, but we didn't.  It looks like the driver was texting.  He didn't even stop.  Although he did come back a few minutes later.

Todd was worried about her being in pain and came running into the house for help...Clarke, Todd and I ran outside and found Maggie who had made her way over to the curb across the street and put her head between the curb and a car wheel.  She didn't suffer for more than five minutes.  But we are still suffering.  Every time we come home we wait for her to bark or run to us and wag her tail.  Nothing.  I hate it.

We thought to take her body to the vet and I called them to find out what to do.  It was $200 for a group cremation and $260 for an individual service.  I decided to call the Humane Society in Pasadena. They said they would come out, but since we were already driving (our neighbors very generously loaned us their mini-SUV because I couldn't bring myself to put her body in the trunk and our son had the truck) we arranged to take her to them.

We were just a wreck with tears.  We walked in the office and Todd took the lead.  I just tried to hold it together and not make eye contact with patrons picking up just neutered pets or making a new adoption.  We were instructed to take her around back and we were met by two young men who saw her body and suggested a stretcher to move her.  They were so incredibly compassionate and kind.

We realized that we hadn't been charged anything, so we went back to the front and paid the fee ($5.00) and made a donation because Maggie was a rescue dog and it just made more sense to donate to them then the vet.  It felt less selfish.

For a few days we are all in a funk.

One morning while praying and meditating I was just sitting with the feelings and noticing that I was waffling between anger and sadness and feeling frustrated because Maggie drove me nuts and I also love her.

And an answer came so clearly: I drive God nuts.  AND God loves me.

I know you probably figured this out years ago.

It's new to me and I think it's because my thinking is extremely black and white.  If I'm good, I'm lovable.  If I'm bad I'm not.  And it's only about me, not my husband or children or friends, I accept them and love them as they are.  I wonder how they can put up with me for my imperfections and I think that's because I've made up all of these criteria that I usually cannot meet.  There is just a broken place in my brain that tells me all or nothing, either good or bad.  And it doesn't apply to my children or my husband or friends.  I love them and don't judge them as good or bad - I let them be human...

But I don't allow myself this break.  It isn't helpful thinking.  It isn't thinking I want.  And it took my sweet dog to show me that it is possible for me to be loved deeply despite flaws.

I hope this lesson sticks.