How does time slip past us so quickly? Where does it go?
Tomorrow, Lucas will have been gone for three weeks. How can that be? When he left us, our hearts were shattered. We wondered how we would ever put the pieces back together.
Finally, I realized: They will never be put back together, at least not in the same shape. We can reassemble all the little shattered pieces from the loss of that big, yellow dog, but the shape of our lives, the shape of our days will be forever different.
See, Lucas dictated most aspects of our day-to-day.
I know over the years many of you arrived here, became a part of this community, because you love a reactive dog. The comments, the discussion, and even the keywords that bring people here (“my dog bit someone” or “leash lunging” or “how to get my dog to like other dogs”) unite those of us who love a dog who reacts.
For close to nine years, we accommodated Lucas. We walked him at certain times of day to minimize the risk of encountering a loose dog. We walked him on certain routes to minimize corners and blindspots so that we wouldn’t be startled by another dog walker. We drove with the windows down because he got car sick. That includes numerous winter weather drives where it would snow into the car because if we put the windows up he’d start to pant and pace and get sick. We took him to controlled dog training classes and hiked spots with little traffic at off hours. He twice tried to bite a stranger in the park, so he never got to go off-leash or even on a long leash unless we had complete control over the situation–which, of course, you never really do.
And that’s what’s weird. That’s what’s reshaping our days. Last week, at prime school-lets-out time, when moms and kids and dogs and bikes and strollers and UPS trucks and mailmen were out in full force, we took Cooper and Emmett for a walk.
Yesterday, when it was frigid and pouring, I drove Cooper to doggy daycare with the windows up and no one barfed.
We took Emmett and Cooper for a hike, together, rather than worrying about shifts and who’s stuck at home and who’s getting shorted a turn and can we skip Emmett today because it took so long to get around the neighborhood with Lucas because we kept having to avoid dogs?
It makes me feel guilty and awful to say that part of this change, part of the adjustment to Lucas being gone is that many things have become… well… easier. And in a weird way, it’s the hardest part to get used to, to letting go of that constant vigilance.
Please don’t misinterpret. I would trade any of it, actually all of it, to have him back. I’d adjust my walk times and walk routes and install the gates in the new house so when the HVAC repair guy/UPS man/next door neighbor comes by I’d have a place to safely send Lucas. I’d walk him in the rain and on winding, stuttered routes to avoid other dogs. I’d do any of it. I’d do all of it to have him here and healthy and happy, bopping around on three legs.
But that can’t happen. And while I’m not used to the gap he’s left in our lives yet, part of it is because I can let my guard down. At least a little. And it feels weird. And I still miss him, and I bawled my eyes out when I got an email about his doggy daycare reservation this morning, but these are things I never could’ve predicted. I could never have imagined just how much the shape of our days would change and just how sad it makes me when the doorbell rings and no one goes ballistic.