The Bestest Best Boy
Once upon a time, Lemur brought home a little bundle of wriggling, whining fury that became his best friend in the whole world. They had fourteen-and-a-half wonderful years together. Our old man dog crossed the rainbow bridge three years ago today. We hope he's chasing all the rabbits and chipmunks while he waits for us.
Old man dog was part Siberian husky, so a month later, when an ad for a local rescue popped up with an adorable part-husky pup who had been born at the rescue and then returned when his first family didn't work out, I took a chance and contacted them. He was already out on a meet-and-greet with another family, so I thought it was a sign. Then, that fell through and Big Dog became our dog.
Not all part-huskies (or even 100% huskies) are alike, my friends. Old man dog was an anomaly to begin with. He was the firstborn pup and came out growling like a champ. He was a grumpy pup, a grumpy teen, a grumpy young man, and his personality definitely fit when he was a grumpy old man.
Big Dog is not grumpy, but he's also part beagle, so he is STUBBORN. Unlike Old Man dog, he is sweet, but aloof. He likes to be alone. He doesn't need to know what we're doing every minute of every day (we have Little Dog to keep an eye on us now, or who knows what would happen). His sweet, playful, you-can't-catch-me game is precious after work. It's a pain in the ass when it's dark outside in the cold snow, it's time to go to bed, and he won't come to the door.
Lemur has lost his temper with Big Dog several times over the past three years. This usually escalates into losing his temper with me for getting a dog when he wasn't ready for another dog, and how dare I abuse my power in our relationship this way. He didn't want another dog, thank you very much.
That's when I have to remind him: I wanted to rescue dogs the way Lemur rescued me from an abusive relationship. We have to be patient with them, as he was with me. Because they didn't latch onto us as their first families, these rescues won't be Old Man Dog. I'm both sorry and grateful for that. He was a once-in-a-lifetime doggo, our Bestest Best Boy. No one will ever take his place in our hearts.
That's the cool thing about hearts - when you discover how to put the broken pieces back together, there's room for even more love than you thought possible. The stubbornness is not something I love, but I'm willing to let it go as long as Big Dog is safe and happy.
Little Dog was another ad popup on Facebook, and another return to the rescue. "No one has sent an app for this little guy, and we don't know why! He may not warm up to people, but he wants to be your dog's best friend." Big Dog needed a best friend. Before COVID, he was home by himself a lot. Little Dog wasn't quite potty-trained, and he had some serious separation anxiety (ate three sweatshirts, a leash, and a box of tissues serious), but now he's the bestest Little Dog, and Big Dog is the bestest Big Dog.
All pets are the bestest when they are your pets. Give them an extra treat, cuddle, or pat tonight. Time is fleeting, tears still hurt, and love doesn't stop when they're gone. If you're lucky, though, time changes even the most annoying quirks into wonderful stories you hold in your heart forever.