I have never really gotten the pet thing. I have had pets in my life. There was Coco – a brown poodle with epilepsy. There was Poppy – a black lab/Irish setter who helped me win some 4-H blue ribbons. There were a few cats. Tippin was our family pet when the kids were little, but she annoyed me more than anything. I never felt a fast bond with any of my pets. But now I think I understand what pet love is.
This morning, after a two week, fun-filled visit, Ali got in her car to begin her journey back to New Orleans. Sitting in her back seat was precious Banjo – a half Basset hound, half Louisiana swamp dog darling. That dog won me, and I can’t even express what she did for Dan.
When Ali got home we were charmed at how attached the two of them were. Wherever Ali went, Banjo would scurry behind her happily. When Ali picked her up, her front paws would rest on Ali’s shoulders in a hug. When Ali napped on the couch, Banjo would cuddle at her feet, by her back, or on top of her head. Everything that Banjo does, is done with enthusiasm. When Ali chose Banjo as her dog, she got herself a bestie.
The heart-winning for my part was pretty instant. There is nothing that can stop a smile spreading across your face when you see a puppy attack a stuffed horse voraciously, or speed from one ball to another, or come flying across the room to jump on your lap to get some cuddles.
Over the days, we developed some routines. Banjo is an early riser, plopping down the stairs a little after 5 AM and getting Dan to take her for a little morning stroll before we went to work. After work we would sit on the patio to have our cocktail and have some play time. We played a lot.
This is what it feels like to love an animal. To know that Ali has Banjo with her as she travels away from us and back to the life that she has created makes it harder, but easier.