When I got home tonight, Lana was outside with David and Bronte. Bronte was way back near the porch, far enough away from the gate. David is pretty good about backing up away from the gate as you prop it open and drive through. Then close the gate behind. Lana never imagined that Bronte would suddenly dart across the driveway in her rabbit run to want to greet me. It was a surprise to me too, considering the past week. In fact, Lana had to grab hold of Bronte’s collar to keep her from running up along side the car. I didn’t bother closing the windows, getting my book bag or anything. I just turned the key and got out to meet her, wiggling and hopping up beside the car. I pet her, and she darted off to the porch for water, and then to the door.
I think any dog person would have to agree that to be “greeted” by a dog is pure joy. I believe it to be one of the simplest gifts from a dog. To know that no matter how bad my day might be, there would always be Bronte at the end of it to greet me with glee and exuberance.
When Bronte and I lived alone in our “Museum District” apartment, she would greet me with that same wiggling tail hopping sideways dance. But as soon as I would pet her, she tore off and raced a line through the apartment from the living room to the kitchen, and back again. How I would hold my breath, amazed that she never ran into anything. Later, when she was recovering from knee surgery, I had to move the dining room table to block her direct racing line, hoping to slow her down. What was most amazing was when she and I moved downstairs. It had never occurred to me, how loud her racing might be to the downstairs neighbors. We had all lived together in that building for over six years and no one had ever said anything about Bronte’s greeting ritual.
Another gift from Bronte is her sigh. You know the one. The one that says, “all is right with the world.” Bronte has checked everything. Then she begins to spin and finally collapses. Her breathing slows. Eventually, she takes a big breath and releases a deep loud sigh. It is at that moment, I know I’m safe. I know at that moment, my world has been tucked in for the evening and I can crawl in under the sheets, assured of slumber knowing that she has everything under control.
It is easier to write in this space, than to worry about how I will come to fill those voids. I don’t want to think about what won’t be. I’m really not so brave. Truth is, there is selfishness. A selfishness that wonders, how will I know I’m home? How will I know my slumber will be safe?