Saturday, July 5, 2014

Filling Cold Empty Spaces with Dog Fur

Dear John,
 
We all survived last night's fireworks. I got us to bed a little after 8:00, hoping to get a couple of hours of sleep before the town fireworks started. But one of the neighbors had family over and was shooting off big firecrackers in their back yard, which was worse for Jethro than the town ones.
 
Poor baby, he's been so protective of me since you died. He's terrified, but he insists on lying on me to keep me safe. He either covers my head, which makes is impossible for me to breathe, or he stretches out completely on top of me, which is quite warm for July. So I sat up with the laptop until things quieted down, which was around 1:30 this morning. The act of sitting up appears to release him from responsibility for my safety - he lies down with his head in my lap and does fine. I expect more of the same tonight. But I don't have to get up at 6:00 tomorrow morning, so it doesn't matter as much. We're all eager to get more than four hours of sleep. Jethro has been sleepy all day and I crashed when I got off work at noon.
 
None of this would be nearly as adventurous if you were here, you know. For one thing, Jethro would still be depending on you to take care of me. When he wasn't the man of the house, he'd lie down between us when there were storms or fireworks, and he'd feel safe there. He's the first dog I've ever had that felt responsible for protecting me. But I've never had a German shepherd before, have I? He's a sweet, sweet dog.
 
This photo has been circulating for about a year. A soldier and his military dog were spotted in an airport waiting for a connecting flight. The soldier took a nap while his dog protected him. This is exactly what Jethro does with me. They really are amazing dogs.
 
So know that I'm being well looked-after. Jethro takes care of me and his kitties. He's keeping us all safe for you. He also keeps me from coming home to an empty house. And he gives me unconditional love, and somebody to hug and cuddle with. As I've said before, when I wake up in the middle of the night and have that moment that I forget and reach out to touch you, it's so much better to touch warm dog fur than cold empty space. He helps fill up some of the cold, empty spaces in my life. The rest of them will just have to wait until I can join you.
 
Empty for you,
Joan.

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