Today my dog is 10. I talked to him about this and I tried not to, but I cried.
I cried because I can’t actually imagine my life without this dog and I know he won’t likely live as long as I will. I nuzzled him and told him how darn much I loved him and that I hoped he’d had a good life so far. He didn’t answer, but he did purr. He purrs like a cat to tell me when he’s particularly happy. I always think his purring is pre-verbal and he will talk some one of these days.
This is the thing about Riley and me: I talk and talk to him, but he never talks back. He has particular barks. He has an “I need water bark,” an I have to pee, stat,” bark, “I’m about to poop on the rug” bark, a “play with me,” an “I’m starving,” and a “the mailman’s here and I’m going to tear him from limb to limb if he gets near the front door” bark. But he never speaks to me, and yet I totally understand him. Sometimes better than people who speak English to me. I don’t know, but that’s how it is. And this is why I love him so much and also because he’s really funny and well, I love funny.
I am so grateful that 10 years ago a dad in Coolidge Corner was allergic to a little puppy he flew in for his family from a breeder in Minneapolis. Turned out that Riley was more Cavalier King Charles Spaniel than Bichon, so his hypoallergenic-ness was a no-go. But that’s how we found our boy. It was meant to be. Because I can tell you, we were made for each other. If you don’t have a dog, I can’t recommend it enough. They make you a better person, and they are full of absolutely pure love.