Saturday, February 9, 2013

The Love of a Dog

Dear John,
I spent most of the day doing housework. I think I got the bedroom furniture in its final location, and moved some things on the walls. You'd like what I did with the bedroom - I put my Grandmother Keistler's chair where the chest of drawers had been, and made a reading corner there. I hung the shadow box with her things over the chair and my big hat on the wall. It looks good.
I have to tell you another animal story. The cat disappeared while I was sweeping and dusting. When I got done, I looked for him and couldn't find him. He's still little and can hide easily. I asked the dog where he was. Jethro got up and led me right to him - he walked to the bathroom and stood by the door. Hunter was drinking from their common water bowl. (I don't remember if I told you that. The cat won't drink from a water bowl of his own, only from Jethro's. So they share a water bowl.) After we all had dinner and I cut Hunter's front claws, they lay down together in my lap and slept for two hours, all cuddled up together.
Photo Postcard, 1912
You know I worried for a while about whether we'd done Jethro a disservice bringing him home. We got him on April 8th, 2011. He had about two normal weeks with us. Then the world fell off its axis. I thought maybe he'd have been better-off with somebody else. And you actually had tears in your eyes when I voiced that to you. He was so good for you during those weeks that we were struggling to get the heart failure under control. When you couldn't do anything but sit in the recliner, he'd come, curl up, and sleep in your lap. I saw how good that was for you then. And I saw how happy you were to see him right before you died. I should have known the answer to the question - life without a dog has always been unthinkable for us. And you love him so much. But you settled my mind that day.
Jethro is happier now with the cat, but I know he still misses you. I can tell when he smells things that were your. I wish I could do that! I loved the way you smelled. But I have a human nose, and can never smell you again. I know your heart, though, and I can feel how you'd feel and what you'd think and say. And for a human, that's more important than smell. And I will see you again. But I doubt that people smell in Heaven.
Loving you, and loving your smell,

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