'I HAVE BEEN AFFECTED BY THE WONDERFUL DISEASE OF PUPPY LOVE!'
I recently filled out paperwork to submit regarding my worthiness to own a puppy. I told a friend about that and her reaction was interesting; "Why would you have to answer questions if you are the one buying the puppy?" she seemed perplexed. I answered, "Well, a dog's love is agape, loyal and unquestionable. A human, not always that simple. Someone who is responsible and cares about the well being of a helpless little puppy asks questions..." I answered. "I don't mind telling them about myself and how I am a person fit to raise a pup."
Sometimes we, I tend to wax philosophical when it comes to simple things. Simple things like the love for a dog. Simply, yet so incredibly complex is this kind of love. A dog has true agape, non-judgmental love for her human. This is one of those times for me.
I remember as a boy my mother (who happened to be an English Professor) asked me why I wanted to tell stories so much, so often. I answered in an innocent way that if I could tell stories like Wilson Rawls that would make people feel like they were there, in it, a part of the story, not just reading it, even though it was a made up story, that I would really like that.
Every time I finish writing a book, I ask myself a simple question - Will this story transport my reader to the place I want him or her to go like Wilson Rawls did for me? IF not, I rewrite the parts that don't transport.
Now, the philosophical wax... This morning a friend of mine at the gym asked me (after I showed him the picture of my soon-to-be-puppy for probably the hundredth time), "Why do you want a red dog, so bad?" I realized at that point that I always refer to my dream dog, as a RED DOG. I told him, "I always have... since I was a little boy." He gave me that, "Oh, well that's just a little weird look", which frankly this NERD has gotten used to seeing over the years.
Driving home from the gym his question echoed in my mind and I began to travel back in time. A time when I was a boy with a dog I named Frisky. A red dog I loved dearly. I thought of the time he was lying in the shade beneath my spot as I was lying on my stomach in my treehouse reading Where The Red Fern Grows for the second time in a row. My heart ached when he got the hounds and my heart broke when he lost them. But he said it was all worth it. Love is always worth it, right?
I wouldn't understand that kind of heartbreak truly for a few years, when on New Years' Eve my beloved Red Beagle/Husky mix, Frisky, my absolute favorite being on earth, disappeared without a trace into the snowy night and I never saw him again. My heart broke. I wandered the fields surrounding my country neighborhood for months, searching for him, asking people in the adjoining neighborhoods if they had seen him. Begging my dad daily to take me out along the railroad tracks just one more time in his VW Van to look for him, "Just in case somehow he was simply lost and couldn't find his way home". I prayed that my red dog would come home, but he never did. My heart was so full of love for that old dog that I just couldn't imagine how I would go on without him. The innocence of a boy who simply loved with all he had and yet, that made it all even harder. I remember for months my other dog would sit at the front door looking out, as though she expected him to come home any moment. I would lie on the ground and hold her and tell her how much I missed him too. I loved her too, but my red dog was my first love. He was my first dog.
But how crazy are we that we still fall in love, knowing at some point all things must end.
Because LOVE is WORTH IT!
I still think about Frisky, to this day with many, many fond memories, but often with a giant lump in my throat. Yes, loving him was worth it! Losing him was hard, but HE was still worth it.
And now I am a two months from bringing my new RED DOG into our lives. I know she will teach me much. I will love her much and someday we will say goodbye. But Love will be worth it, it always is. I learned that from another red dog.