Is This A Feature?

Dearest Rachel –

You might recall a cartoon by the man I would refer to as “Uncle Gary” (since we shared the same last name, right down to the spelling with an “o” rather than an “e”):

The Far Side: Oh Ginger - You Look Absolutely Stunning Gary Larson Postcard

So, just a few minutes ago, at about one in the morning, I rolled out of my sickbed realizing I had to prepare Chompers for going to actual bed, rather than just lying in the family room with Daniel. I got his Gabropentin capsule, wedged it into one of his treats, got my jacket on (because it’s cold, and I have one – no sense compounding matters) and took him outside…

…whereupon he proceeded to spend the next several minutes slowly looking from side to side, as if to say, “what the heck am I doing out here again?” Look, I get it, he was just woken up, he’s still a little groggy, I suppose, but surely, you’d think he’d know what it meant when he was taken outside. Meanwhile, I’m standing next to him, nose running, sneezing loudly enough to wake the neighbors (assuming that what traffic driving by didn’t do that job), and getting rather impatient. Finally, he takes a tentative step, only for his back right leg to fold up underneath him like a cheap table, causing him to plop onto the pavement…

…whereupon he begins peeing. Not much, but enough, and enough to get most of his leg.

And it just leaves me wondering. Yes, he can’t really seem to do much about that leg – or the other one, for that matter, which tends to stick out from under him (so they both are at least wonky in the same direction). But maybe, just maybe, he considers it a feature rather than a bug to have the ability to pee on himself. A dog’s gotta smell like a dog, after all.

But hey… that’s just a theory.

And it’s not one that makes a lot of sense, given that those smells, as I understand it, are meant to communicate with other dogs. And he, for as long as we’ve had him, has never been a social dog.

I think we were told that he was once, but after an… incident… with a rottweiler about a year before we got him, he stopped trusting other dogs, and would bark and snarl at any that dared to come too close, especially the bigger friendlier ones. It was sort of to say, “I let my guard down once with your kind, bucko, but you better believe I’m ready to tear you to pieces if you try anything.”

Kind of like us humans, I suppose. We get hurt, and we don’t want to deal with anybody ever again. I know that happened to me once or twice, way back in the distant past. But he have the time and intelligence to realize we need others, and can’t let one bad circumstance poison the rest of our relationships.

Look, I know this has nothing to with what I’m currently going through. Oh sure, I’m hurting, but you had no intention of doing this to me. We were looking forward to the many years we thought we had together, after all. It’s partly why I’m out here, trying to let the world know how wonderful you are. Were.

And partly why I’m eager to find others to share my life with… with your permission. Because it was such a wonderful time we had, I’m hoping I can still enjoy that a second life throughout the rest of my life. Is that a reasonable request?

Well, I’ve gotten him situated now, and I’m typing this as I wait for him to fall asleep. I’ve tucked Daniel in on his rocking chair, and taken a dose of NyQuil like I said I was going to, and then I’m going to brush my teeth and go to sleep. I don’t know if you have any need for sleep up there anymore, darling, but I do… especially in my weakened state. So I’m off.

Talk to you in the morning – if I don’t see you in my dreams.

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I am Rachel's husband. Was. I'm still trying to deal with it. I probably always will be.

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