When you can’t be with the one you love …
I can’t begin to tell you how much I miss my dog.
As mentioned yesterday, I’m in Arizona, and have been for a week, joining my brother and sister to help get my father settled in a place where he can get the care he needs.
Even though among loved ones, I’m pining for my significant other. Circumstances required Ace — a seasoned traveler — stay home for this trip, and this eight-day separation is the second longest in our seven years together.
It’s an empty feeling, not having him there when I wake up, or when I call his name (which I’ve only done about twice).
Fortunately for me, I have Roscoe, a yellow lab, to help fill the void. Meanwhile Roscoe’s owner, James has Ace.
Here’s how all this came to be — how we ended up in the company of each others dogs.
James, my brother’s partner, lived in Arizona but recently started working in Winston-Salem, N.C., where I currently reside. My brother, and their dog Roscoe, a yellow lab, haven’t made the move yet and are still in the Phoenix area.
Last week, when my presence in Arizona was required, James agreed to care for Ace while I was away. I, planning on staying with my brother, agreed to lavish Roscoe with attention, and — against James’s advice — give him at least one walk.
James ended up with the more labor intensive duty, between the feedings and the walks Ace demands. I don’t have to feed Roscoe (my brother does that), and one walk convinced me, and my shoulder, that Roscoe was more of an in-the-house, backyard kind of dog.
For Roscoe, it was just a matter of supplying treats and snuggling, and it was only a few days before it hit me that I had it backwards — James and I are not taking care of each other’s dogs, each other’s dogs are taking care of us.
James, who has been missing his dog something fierce since moving to North Carolina, seems to be enjoying Ace’s company. He posted the photo of him above on Facebook the other day, along with the words: “Thanks to Ace to keep me warm at night. I am dog-sitting Ace and he is such a wonderful boy!”
As Ace attends to James needs, Roscoe attends to mine.
The first few nights, he joined me on my floor mat, dividing his time between sleeping with me and my brother.
But when I got hit by a three-day bug, Roscoe turned it up a notch. He stayed by my side all night. He followed me to the bathroom — a frequent destination for a while there — waiting patiently outside the door for me to exit. He was at my side whenever I got up, generally carrying either his bone or a pillow in his mouth, tail wagging away.
He’s a totally different dog than Ace — a little more goofy, a little less needy, but equipped, it seems, with all the same sensors of human need.
Unlike Ace, who doesn’t like to get nudged in his sleep, Roscoe tolerates anything. A few times I woke up with both my legs atop him. He woke me up a few times sniffing my face, and a few more times by biting his toenails. Roscoe probably spends a couple of hours a day grooming his claws, and it can be a noisy affair.
But it was a small price to pay for all the attention he bestowed on me.
I was reminded, while scratching Roscoe’s big floppy ears, of the old Stephen Stills song, which had nothing to do with dogs at all: And if you can’t be with the one you love, honey, love the one you’re with.
The lyrics always struck me as a tad slutty, but then that was probably just my dirty-minded interpetration. Maybe I never really understood it.
Dogs, on the other hand, totally get it.
(Photos: Ace photo by James Wong; Roscoe photo by John Woestendiek)
Posted by jwoestendiek January 29th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ace, animals, arizona, away, dogs, home, lab, labrador retriever, pets, roscoe, senses, separation, travels with ace, trip, void, yellow lab