My girl Stormy has had a rough few weeks. I’ve been gone a lot and busy when I’m home. Same applies to my wife, but she can talk to me on the phone – Stormy cancelled her calling plan.
Rescue dogs have a lot of issues. They are flight risks, they are unsure of their place in your home, and they have histories that shame the human race. Stormy is sometimes joyous, sometimes distant, sometimes fearful. But she’s always my girl.
I’m pretty confident in most things. I know who I am and how I think I treat others. I’m insecure about my writing – not being published can do that to you. I’m also insecure about my relationship with this little dog.
I want to bring her joy and love her in such a way that she’ll never doubt her worth in our family. I would like to make her comfortable with my size and deep voice. I’d like to see her own the house like her predecessors did in their prime. Most of all, I’d like a lick on the face and a wag of the tail every time we see each other.
That’s not happening yet. I hope it will one day, but I’m ready to accept it (grudgingly) if it doesn’t. This has to be about her, not me. I consider her a blessing in more ways than I can even list. Starting with her plugging the wound in my heart when Maisie died.
Yesterday was a typical Stormy day. I got home from work and let her out of her cage. She ran around the living room and was obviously glad to see me. That passed in just a few minutes and she became distant by the time we’d walked out the back door to take a walk. Yes, we have taken two walks and a couple of road trips just to broaden her horizons a bit. The walk around the block was better than the last time – less fear, more curiosity.
When we got home she ran up to the back door and wanted to go inside. Not a problem, but she hadn’t done her business. So I stood in the yard at 0600 and waited for her to come down the steps – it was a wait in vain.
Inside we went and she found a spot far away from me with her back turned. A few hours later my wife came down and we got caught up. Stormy came by to assert her place. It seems that I’m taken for granted when we’re together, but if my wife is there it’s jealousy time. Not as bad as Maisie (horrible) but more than Ed (he didn’t care who was around, just don’t step on him.)
While we were talking a strong thunderstorm rolled into the area. The poor dog is badly named – she hates storms. Within minutes she was right there next to me on the floor seeking comfort. I swelled with pride – PACK LEADER!!! Bedtime came quickly and she followed me upstairs. Into the corner, back to me and ignore the dude with the beard.
Then a funny thing happened. My wife came back from her errands and went to release the dog from my room. Stormy hopped up on my bed and wouldn’t leave. I was asleep so my wife stopped just short of dragging the dog off of the bed. When I got up Stormy stuck to me like glue for the remaining time before I went to work.
This morning we repeated the release from the box, wag of the tail, and trip outside. She ran down the stairs and did her thing and then a strange thing happened: She ran right back up and sat next to me on the top step. Touching me. Looking at my face from two feet away. When I put my arm around her I could feel her relax – not tense up as is usually the case.
We sat on that step and talked for quite a while. It is said that dogs have a vocabulary of 250 words. I hope that three of them are in her lexicon, as I said them over and over to her in the still darkness of a fall morning: I love you.
I do love her. I may never adjust to her eccentric behavior. Nor she to mine. But I will keep showing her the love that she obviously needs. And I will give it unconditionally. She’s warming up to that face-lick moment. I can’t wait.
Who will you show unconditional love to today?