For Parker, and all the furry loved ones who are no longer with us

We had some friends whose dog died today. His name was Parker. Parker was a good dog who had a rough early start. They did the right thing and adopted him from the shelter a few years ago. They gave him so much love and peanut butter sandwiches in such a short time. He was adored by his kids. I didn’t know him long but he made his way into my and Toby’s heart too. It’s always sad when a loved one passes and particularly sad when it’s a pet. We love them so much, and they love us back in full. Saying its a pet makes it seem a step removed. Like, it’s just a goldfish, just a pet. A dog is never just a pet. He’s a part of the family. He/she never blows you off to work late or hang out with other friends all day. They always greet you with excitement no matter how long you left them, one hour or 8. Or if you forgot to feed them breakfast. (Only once! Ok twice…)

I can’t help but think of Toby. Prince Toby. Prince Tobias Henry MoMofuku the Third. The sweet little dog who has followed me through two relationships, two countries and two states not to mention the birth of my first and possibly only child. We’ve been through a lot together. He’s never been mad at me. Never held a grudge except for the shoe-poo incident of 2010. And really, I deserved it. He’s getting a little older, his face fur a little whiter. He needs his anal glands squeezed. (Too much information? I don’t do it, those lucky vet techs too, ha ha ha). Ew.

I pulled a mat of bird feathers from off his snout today. He sniffed a puddle with feathers floating in it and couldn’t get it off his nose. I took off the probably diseased with West-Nile/Ebola feathers with my BARE HANDS and thought, that’s love… I disinfected them with alcohol then washed them like 5 times then washed Ellie’s milk bottles and worried about communicating bird diseases to my daughter. That’s just neuroticism. Probably. Right? I’m a hot mess. But I’d be worse if I didn’t have Toby here with me. It’s a burden yes (traveling is a little harder when he’s with us like this weekend) but it’s a burden of love. In exchange for all the joy and love and happiness he gives by just being his own joyful, silly dog self, I’ll battle a little bird disease/germ phobia/hotel issues from time to time. If I don’t die of Ebola, this is going to be good for me.  If I DO die of Ebola, it will have been worth it – died from a complication of love.  I like the sound of that.  I’m also feeling a little morbid today.  And thankful and grateful I still have my little prince with me.  And grateful for all the princes that have been in my life, starting with Lady, the first prinCESS, and Hamlet, then Mr.Toby.  Thanks guys, (and girl) for all the love you gave and the life you shared with me.  My life is richer because of you.  And more sad.  And that’s life in a nutshell isn’t it? Like Miss Glenda says in her blog and in her wonderful book, it’s Brutiful.  (Brutal and beautiful).

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