A Tribute to My Dogs
by Quimby Lombardozzi
My lovely Wilbur lies at my feet (as always) as I sit writing, despite the fact that I want him to lie on his bed where I think he’d be more comfortable, where he’d be better cushioned. He is dying. And it feels like I am too. I read that dogs can actually smell emotions. Not surprising, really, given their incredible senses. So I have tried to not bring my grief into our house, to not burden him with it.
I love dogs; anyone who knows me knows this. I’ve been blessed with three incredible ones in my life so far. Wilbur is our last living dog. I’ve had one or more dogs by my side for the last 17 years and the thought of waking up to a day without a dog in the house is so sad I can hardly wrap my head around it. It’s unfathomable to me that I won’t turn over in my bed and see one of them sleeping on the floor next to me. Or hear their snoring. Or see their, chin on the bed by my face, waiting for me to get up and get going. I can’t imagine not walking into the kitchen with them at my feet while I get their food, let them out, give them their medicine in their senior years. Can’t imagine not taking them for walks every day, or adventures in the car, or to the river or lake or ocean where they all loved to swim. Or playing fetch. Most of all, I can’t imagine not burying my face in their neck and hugging them. If love has a smell, it’s my dog’s neck. When our other dog (Sammy) died earlier this year the sight of her collar and leash hanging by the door nearly killed me. But I couldn’t put it away for days. I suspect the same will happen with Wilbur. This year I will have lost two. And it’s just. not. fair.
I think dogs are gifts. And when we do right by them, when we listen, we become better human beings. I truly believe animals are here to teach us. I just happen to have a great affinity for the dog variety. I’ve learned a lot from my dogs. The lessons are so simple but I have much work left to do before I master them all: Live in the moment. Forgive. Be your true self at all times. Fight to project who and what you love and let the rest go. Trust your intuition. No adventure is too small. Love unconditionally. Be 100% excited. Show your joy – it is infectious. Looks mean nothing. Actions are everything. Most importantly, enjoy the simple pleasures, like sticking your head out the window and tasting the wind.
My greatest wish is to be the human being my dogs think I am. They are such optimists. Though completely at our mercy, dogs trust in our innate goodness. They give us everything and ask for nothing. And despite our flaws they are patient, patient, patient, waiting for us to get it right. And so we should. The one thing I am proud of, the one small beacon of light in my broken heart, is that I gave them my best. And it was a privilege to do so.