By B. Lynn Goodwin.
“See the decal? It’s a dog’s paw print that says, ‘Who rescued who?’ Good question, don’t you think?”
Even though I was picking up his prescription, Mikko stayed home, as he usually does now. He had a small stroke about six months ago, and even the walk between my condo and garage is too much for him some days. He’s become an old man, a little crotchety and semi-immobile, and sometimes incontinent. He looks at me with sweet, loving eyes and he tells me he loves me and he wants to still be here. So he is.
Mikko, I know you rescued me. You got me to exercise. You gave me a reason to talk to the dog walkers. You made friends on the patios at Bagel Street Café and Starbuck’s. You protected me when workmen came. You barked when you didn’t trust someone. You were my best bud and my company when we were on the road together.
When I limped, you did too, and when I tripped over your short, furry, Shih Tzu body, you always forgave me. You understood the risks of being in the kitchen, but it was worth it to you. Any food that fell to the ground was yours. You also knew when to get out. When I faced writer’s block or misplaced my keys, you offered a distraction. “Take me for a walk right now,” you’d say with your eyes. It usually worked.
When Richard picked me up for our first date, you didn’t bark or even yip at him. You sniffed and accepted him. That told me I could trust him. I put my faith in your instincts.
A few months later we decided that Richard would be your Uncle Daddy. As our relationship progressed, we messed with your schedule. You were patient. You adapted. You started accepting us as a couple, and Uncle Daddy accepted you as an important part of my life.
So yes, you rescued me. You opened my heart, just as so many people promised you would. You gave me new material to write about. All I gave you was food, walks, and treats.
And a voice.
I read your thoughts as I looked into your eyes, and I translated them into English. I narrated them for Richard until he spoke for you too.
You were at least eight when I rescued you. Set in your ways. Stubborn. You growled at me the first few nights when I walked across my own living room. I had to set you straight about whose house you were in. The corner with your bed was yours. Later I said the carpet was yours. You have your own corner of the refrigerator. Your leash has one place where it belongs. My cell, purse, and glasses do not. I wanted to protect you. I didn’t want my mistakes to feel like they were your fault.
Pets rescue us. They depend on us. They love us unconditionally, and their innocent, pure love inspires us.
Mikko, I want you to know that you’re in my heart, even though I’m not around as much on weekends, now that I have Richard in my life. You’ve mellowed since your stoke, and you seem comfortable watching and waiting for us to return. We are a unique family of seniors who simultaneously rescue each other as our lives blend together one day at a time.
Who have you rescued and how did it change your life?