Submitted by megan on Wed, 05/28/2008 - 18:57
Don't remember what car and I don't remember where we were going. Probably some beach with a kong. But that's just a guess based on several years more experience.
Back then, I was pretty afraid of dogs. This wasn't so long after 1998, when I'd come close to having a german shepherd attack me because I looked it in the eye and smiled* as we waited for the stoplight at Spadina and Dupont, just up the block from my apartment in Toronto.
The thing that scared me most about that situation was that the owner, a woman about my age and size, was as shocked as I was, and was barely able to control the dog. Luckily, it was leashed. Luckily, she had a good hold of the leash. Had either of those two things been different, I would have been in the hospital, I have no doubt.
So when I first went to Shelley and Steve's house, and my knock was greeted with the fiercest barking from a mid-size pit bull, I was a little cautious about entering. "He always does that," Shelley said to my blanched face. "It's just his way. See? He's happy you're here." And indeed, his entire body was wagging. I think I smiled gingerly, probably petted his head carefully, and avoided him for the rest of the night.
When I fell in love with him was probably a year or so after that, though like I say, the context is fuzzy.
I was staying with Shelley and Steve and Dana, and that meant that I was also staying with Milo. We'd moved beyond the gingery petting stage to maybe some scratching. I was feeling more comfortable around him because he was obviously a well-trained dog, and sweet, too. He just wanted to be hanging out with his people and chasing the kong.
So we were in the back seat, the two of us. I was sitting on the passenger side. Milo was sitting behind the driver, then lying behind the driver, looking out his window, then sitting, then turning circles, then looking over through my window. Whatever was out there caught his eye. He clambered up onto my lap, his nails digging into my thighs through my jeans.
I held my hands up beside my shoulders, palms turned out, like I was about to be shot. But nothing happened. He just looked out the window and snuggled into my lap a little deeper. He had no time for or truck with my fear. He just wanted to sit in the lap of a person he had decided was safe enough to be his people, and have a little look-see out the window.
Mostly, I'm all for respecting boundaries. But sometimes you just have to give people a good dig in the thighs and show them how to be in love.
Milo is very good at loving.
Milo has cancer. It's a rare form, and a not so good form. He's having an x-ray on Friday morning, and that will dictate whether he's a good candidate for surgery. If he is, he'll have the surgery, and if he survives that, he should have several more happy months in him. If he isn't, he'll come home and have the best weekend of his life and be put down on Monday.
So many of those branches end in a quick goodbye. Though quick and painless is better than long and hurting, I very very selfishly hope that he's okay enough to move here. I had only ever envisioned our house with Milo in the backyard, and my god, do I ever want to see him again and give his bony ribs a tight squeeze, and give the bridge of his nose a few thonks with my index finger to hear the hollow sound his head makes.
Love isn't very dense, as it turns out. Because that's all that's in there: teeth and love.
*What did I know from dogs? I thought I was being nice, not trying to dominate it.