Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Missing Buffy

“I better make sure to close the front door as we unload, so that Buffy doesn’t get out.”

“Oh boy, Ollie is eating grapes, I better hold Buffy so that she doesn’t eat one that he drops.’

“It’s still dark, but it’s morning so I should get out of bed to walk Buffy.”
Each one of these thoughts this past weekend were followed by a forgotten fact, “Buffy is not here at my parents house, she’s back in Chicago.” While this meant that I didn’t have be extra careful or have to take care of her, instead of feeling relief, I felt sadness.

Most of the time when we travel to my parent’s house in the west coast we take Buffy with us (here’s a post about taking Buffy on a plane). We decided while flying with Ollie, that we would not take Buffy with us on shorter trips, like this past trip over Thanksgiving weekend that we would not take Buffy with us. Buffy spent a fun weekend with my mother-in-law.  Having one fewer kid to worry about on the busiest traveling weekend of the year is helpful. However this reasoning as sound as it is, doesn’t make us miss Buffy any less.

Lately, instead of just waving goodbye to Buffy in the mornings, I’ve been giving her a hug and a kiss. Also, I’ve been giving her extra walks more often in the past couple months. In any relationship, there are times when you feel closer to someone you care about than at other times and for some reason, I’ve been feeling closer to Buffy lately.

Some of this is guilt. I know that sometimes I take Buffy for granted. When someone you love, is so consistently supportive and is always there for you, this can be overlooked as a habit, when in reality, it’s a result of consistent effort and care. Dogs unlike most humans have an incredible well of loyalty and care to draw from that even when unreciprocated, will keep coming and coming. This is one of the most amazing things about dogs, but it’s also a blessing that we should honor through our own actions.

The turning point for me was a stressful day towards the beginning of the school year when I realized that my only interactions were Buffy were doing things to care for her that all felt like chores. Yes, I was being responsible and taking care of my dog but I was missing the entire purpose of having one.

I started talking to Buffy more, and making sure that my time with Buffy was not just about chores but enjoying and fostering our relationship. Buffy is no longer a puppy that demands our attention, but that doesn’t mean that she doesn’t need or deserve our love any less. With an older dog, it’s more on us to initiate interactions. This is what makes the arc of a relationship with a dog meaningful and special.

Missing the ones you love is bittersweet. While the longing can be painful, it is a result of true care and time spent together. Unlike the chores of being at home, I miss my Buffy because she is so much more than a chore. I’m embracing how much I miss Buffy because I know its because of how deeply I feel for my little puppy.

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