As 2010 draws to a close I would be remiss not to mention the things that helped get me through the year, my sources of survival, salves in the continuing healing of my grief. Looking back, there were many people (Alison, Nan, Melissa, Stacy, Sylvia, Susan my grief counselor, and yes, even Mr. X), places (Portland, LA, Park City, and the biggest plot twist of the year, Eldon, Iowa), and things (learning to drive the RV, the making of the pie show, teaching pie baking, being a pie judge at both the National Pie Championships and the Iowa State Fair, moving into the American Gothic House) that contributed to my well being. But out of everyone, every place, and everything there were two constant, daily, unrelenting sources of comfort and joy.
Meet Team Terrier.
|That’s Comfort (Daisy) on the left and Joy (Jack) on the right.
IF there is any doubt as to the benefits of owning a pet, I am living proof that a warm-bodied, tail-wagging, four-legged friend is well worth the four walks a day, the middle of the night disruptions, the barking, the trips to Petco for food, and — as was the case this year — the exorbitant vet bills. (Uh,yeah, add to the list stained rugs.) In the face of sometimes unbearable grief, I cannot help but wonder if I would still be here if not for these two creatures who depend so fully on me, who make me laugh until my sides hurt, who keep me in shape by demanding long hikes and stick-throwing sessions, who force me out of bed no matter how down I feel, and who — for whatever godforsaken reason — love me so completely and unconditionally.
|Just looking at them makes me laugh. (One of these days I’ll make them pose with the prerequisite pitchfork.)
|Daisy is a rescue from Saltillo, Mexico. Little did she know she would end up in Iowa. (That makes two of us!) But she’s adaptable and never complains, even in the midst of a very un-Mexican-like snowstorm.
|How can you be depressed with Jack around? His singular love for play is infectious. He brings out the kid in everyone. And has an infinite capacity for a game of fetch.
O, dog of wonder, dog of night,
Dog with royal beauty bright,
Westward leading, still proceeding,
Guide us to thy perfect light.
Happy New Year, everyone. May you have a peaceful, prosperous and animal-filled 2011. (And hopefully some pie with that too!)