So, this happened a little faster than either I or my husband expected.
Faith died on February 10, 2013. (One of Faith's fans, another dog owner, said: "You never forget the date.")
Jeff and I had planned to have a few months to ourselves. To grieve, to travel, to write. We had expected to have our old girl for one more summer, one more plunge into the lake. But cancer had other ideas.
I missed Faith a lot.
I missed her so much I couldn't write about it. Here, or elsewhere. Except for Facebook. By the digital waters of Babylon, I lay down and wept. Mark Zuckerberg, you may be an evil supergenius, but you certainly have provided us with a place to grieve almost anything.
I also missed the routine of being a dog owner: the walks, the conversation on those walks. The friendships that came out of owning and/or loving dogs. It felt positively weird to talk down the street, day after day, without a creature at the end of the leash. Without the connection to other people that came from walking Faith.
I got to know Hoboken through walking Faith. I met our city's mayor when she was first running for council--because Faith wanted the donuts she was giving out. I met the mayor's kids with Faith and was mightily impressed with how they handled dogs. And when Faith was still a work in progress, one of the few dogs she got along with was the soon-to-be-mayor's dog.
And this had been even more precious to me and Jeff because Faith started out as such a difficult, unpredictable dog. After we adopted her, we discovered that she hated most other dogs. So much so that once, when she thought she heard a dog on the other side of the street, she tried to climb over a car to menace it. It gave me no peace to realize that all Faith had heard was some guy's wallet chain jingling.
But she changed, because she felt safer, because we all--Faith, Jeff and I--worked very hard. Four trainers-worth hard. And because Faith was the kind of dog who, when she got older, she got sweeter. So the walks at the beginning of our time with Faith were fraught with anxiety and terror. And the walks at the end of her life were lovely and magical.
Don't get me wrong. I hated losing Faith, but I liked, very much, no longer having to rush home to walk our dog. To wander. To make dog-less vacation plans. To stay put when the weather was crummy because nobody in our house had to go to the bathroom outside.
We had the canine equivalent of an empty nest.
And it lasted all of a month and a half.
Dogs happen, baby. In the next installment, I will talk a little bit more about our pocket pit, Mavis the Strumpet.