A familiar whining and whinging pulls me back from the dishwasher and my introverted thoughts. The slider door to the backyard is open but that doesn’t really matter to Zach who instead of using this exit sits noisily by the French doors.
“Zach, come on!”
His behavior defies any explanation. I’ll never know why the 30 foot trek from the French doors to the open exit is so difficult for this abled bodied dingus. The pleas turn into full unadulterated barking, a manifestation of haste and defiance. “Woman, open this door. Now!” An insistence that made me quickly glance through all the windows on the main floor to find the pesky squirrelsor birds that taunt him.
The beautiful green lawn glistened in the winter dew devoid of any intruders to remove or corral.
A second scan of our field of dreams yields another reason for his discontent. The blue-plum orb, a Jolly Ball, lies a few yards away, slightly frosted over. Steady hungry eyes lazer focused on retrieving this most precious toy lock into my own, begging for assistance. His darling pittie smile oscillating between being half amused and half anxious.
“Sit! Touch! Wait! Go!”
He runs down the steps and up the gradient full speed snapping the ball and throwing it up in the air just to jump up and catch it mid descent. I watch the ball go upwards, sideways, forward and backward, until Z gets tired and circles back inside through the inviting slider door. He passes me, ignoring the now running dishwasher and lays on the Soggy Doggy 3×5′ rug until he spots his beloved in the distance. The whinging and whining starts to crescendo as I laughingly make my way back to the side door to participate in this cat and mouse game.
We remain this way for another hour, me laboring and him enjoying the yard until my husband W honor us with his presence. Zach shifts from his Jolly Ball to his rope, enticing his master to play tug of war. The two males growl and exert force on the long piece of cotton strings until one of them breaks off contact to procure a snack. They share a rice roll and some cookies in the middle of the kitchen, halfway across the two open exits, drawn towards the light shinning in this rare Pacific Northwest morning.
It took Zach two years to find us. An additional two to make himself comfortable with our routines and our harmless vices. He loves BBQ’d meats and he lights up every time we cook pasta for dinner. He may not like walks or car rides or strangers but that doesn’t matter. This American Staffordshire Terrier adores me, us, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. He is the third wheel we desperately needed to find our balance. The missing piece required to mend out broken infertile hearts; the main reason my lay off after a 10 year distinguished career wasn’t in vain.
Zach rescued me from a life of uncertainty and chaos; from the hurt of being infertile, incapable of bringing life into this world. For him we bought a house with a yard, moved in temporarily with my sister until it was ready, and spend more time outside of the office than before. People assume children are the only unifying force in a marriage but I disagree. Our gorgeous, handsome, sweet introverted pet and canine companion has worked more miracles for my family than years of financial success and goal setting. More than counseling or science.
After 15 years away from the island and family that raised me. After a decade of being married to a very difficult man. After losing my mother to cancer, I finally have a home. His devotion heals my soul’s wounds. His unrelenting affection builds up my confidence and resilience. He was the challenge I’d always been waiting for, the fearful dog that dares to love in this scary brave new world. I’m forever grateful for the gifts he bestows upon me; for all the doors I open and close for him.
Home is not a place but the people that make us feel wanted, needed, special.
We love you Z!!! You are our home…