Happy with a dog

Last December our dog Luna died. It seems she took an era with her. Funny how animals define and contain entire chapters of our lives. When they go, we see the clear end of a decade or more. We see the whole thing collapsed like an origami balloon folded in on itself, the beginning place lying flat against the finishing place. She was a puppy, and then she was old. And in between we grew and shifted and watched our own eyes change in the mirror.


Her passage was hard. Letting her wade gracefully through old age was easy enough. (She was grace personified, or doggified as the case my be.) It was watching her suffer wordless, circular canine anxiety as her end drew near that tore our hearts. And when she was gone, sleeping forever, she left a blank space in her wake with a great gravitational pull.


My youngest daughter asked me every day, no less than five times, holding hands, walking to school, “When are we getting another dog?” And then she’d carefully place the cherry on top of her longing: “Life is sad without a dog.” If this is a true statement in a logical world (someone help me with the philosophical accuracy here), then the following statement should also be true: “Life is happy with a dog.”


At least that’s how—one day—I heard what she was saying, and I decided to act on the veracity of that claim, though I was not sure how or when I would make this happen. I would have to consult with my husband, make sure things were copacetic. What dog would we get? How old? Where? We’d wanted to help an abandoned one. But sometimes you just do not have to think at all or ponder long. The Universe takes care of the decision-making for you.


A few days later, I was walking down the street, and a young man was walking towards me with a small puppy zig-zagging aimlessly on the end of a leash. The dog-let was darling. Still with a bit of fuzz to him. Wolf-like in his face. A long tail that wagged from shoulder to shoulder. I asked the man where he’d gotten him, hoping perhaps there was a litter somewhere with more puppies still available. He told me that he’d found the dog—rather the dog had found him—at a festival of peperoncini in a small town on the Calabrian coast called Diamante. The dog had escaped a cage (and an undoubtedly ugly future) where he was being kept with 13 other puppies, slipped through the bars (he was only 4 weeks old), pulled on the man’s pants leg and kindly asked passage to Milan and a better life. But now he, the man, realized he could not keep the dog. He was a chef, and work was just too demanding. He was looking for a new owner.


I volunteered us on the spot (SFX: Universal gears locking into place). Two days later, the decision was made, and the dog was brought to us with equal doses of sadness and relief, along with his bed, his toy giraffe and his name, Pepe. That was one month ago.

We still miss Luna. But the gravitational pull is no more. Puppitude has taken over—a new chapter, a new decade, a new origami balloon in the making…



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20 Responses to Happy with a dog

  1. peiroux says:

    OH MY …..DOG !!!!!
    mazel tov

    • I sent you a phone message a few days ago…maybe you didn’t get it? Comment va petite Julie? xx

      • peiroux says:

        sorry i don’t get any phone message…. but the iphone is very old and ill…..( i want an iphone 6 + ..i want an iphone 6+..etc etc )..Julee is a.destroy but really..destroying dog…even the kennel in the car…at home it’s ..;Tchernobyl…but ..she is very nice and happy….actually she is eating the 12 or 15th”peluche” from Nana..nice dog ..really nice xx

  2. cecilia says:

    Luna was beautiful. And that Pepe! What eyes. What a clever little gypsy he is! Now if only I could pop a kitten in the mail to be his friend! Many people do not need dogs, but for me and your daughter and you too I think, Life without a Dog would be Sad. c

  3. Don’t you dare pop a kitten in the mail!! That’s where I draw the line. I am allergic to cats and we have been adopted by an outdoor cat in France. That works perfectly for me. Yes, I need dogs. Funny thing. A primitive love, I think. Sometimes I call him Cave-doggy…because it goes back that far.

  4. Cook-Tench says:

    Ahhhh, it would appear that your land angel has found you.

  5. peiroux says:

    and with Marcel????

  6. Gerlinde says:

    Congratulations on your new family member. I love it when life takes care of the problem.

  7. dayphoto says:

    OH! He is just beautiful and darling. Life is sad without a dog…very sad…and dogs are also sad with out people…having young people to play with is joyful and uplifting and heartwarming…for all!

    I’m so glad you have this darling dog!


    • Linda, thank you so much!! It’s true, everything you say. He’s surrounded always by people paying attention to him, loving him, trying to help him grow “straight”! He’s still into puppy mischief, well, you know how that is.

  8. Eha says:

    A big double-smile on my face! First for Pepe of the incredible eyes who has no idea he has won the lottery . . . and secondly, having loved and reposted Celi’s wonderful post of the day with Boo and Marmie and ‘their’ family: oh what a pity one of those darling furry bundles cannot be shipped across land and sea to be Pepe’s companion 🙂 !

    • I can’t compete with Boo and the kittens! They are the most beautiful things on the internet (Hallmark should be so lucky to have images like that)…but you’re right. It is a double happiness. And it often seems that our lives are so intertwined that would could just pop things in the mail and whoosh them across the ocean. Pepe welcomes all animal forms of friendship…even if they are less interested in his advances.

  9. Such a lovely little dog and so glad he has found you. Today was the blessing of the animals at our country church. Sending up prayers for Blessings for Pepe.

  10. janette gross says:

    So beautiful. And, SO nice to hear from you again. I love the pictures of dog parts: ears, paws, tail tip, and bunny rabbit??

  11. Bill Moore says:

    Interesting how so often the right dog/cat/etc falls right to you out of the blue. Our cats were the same way, one when an elderly lady at our church died, and her 6 year old needed a home fast. Then at Thanksgiving (in Wilmington, NC) a litter of kittens born and we take two. Neither times were we looking, yet both times a welcomed addition. Your cousin Bill.

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