Sunday, July 15, 2007

Hair, of Canines

These were my dogs. I say "were" because over the last six months, we have given them both away. The collie is Silver. She is 8 years old. The beagle is Chewbacca. He is five years old. Chewbacca went to a new home with a doggie door, a younger beagle brother, and a yard last December. Silver flew to Virginia today.

I was never going to be one of those people who get rid of their dogs when they have a baby. How could a baby replace any member of the family, whether human or not? I still believe that had we lived in a real house, with real grass (or maybe just nearby a park), we would still have these dogs. But I caved. After a year and a half of Chewbacca peeing on the floor because he couldn't hold it, I had to find him somewhere else to live. (This was after I made a pallet of grass on our patio, which he peed in once and then returned to the floor/door.) At his new home, he has yet to have an accident. Silver, on the other hand, is a model citizen. She is truly a perfect house dog - if you don't mind vacuuming every other day. Yes, fur. Everywhere. She moved to my sister-in-law's house because we are moving next month and will be in transit for a year (to who-knows-where).

When we got home today from the airport I set to vacuuming the whole house. We had taken her to the beach yesterday, so sand had scattered itself all over and mingled with the silver fur that was stuck to the Elizabeth-spilled sticky places. I was relieved to know I wouldn't have to vacuum again so soon, but with each swipe of the whirring machine (the Dyson Animal, bought specifically for our animals!), a ball of guilt tumbled about inside me. Had I given Silver away merely for a decrease in vacuuming frequency? Had I shipped her off to her favorite Auntie only so I could have more freedom? What was I doing trying to erase her imprint as soon as was possible?

Half-way through I emptied the vacuum container and watched the doughnut-shaped clump of gray fur braided with dust and sand as it fell into the bag with a satisfying plop. Then I reaffixed the container and continued on with the rest of the house. I mopped, too. There, I sighed, a clean floor. Maybe it would last a week!

The guilt rose higher in my throat. Silver had no idea she would never see this home again, just like she had no idea where Chewbacca went. Our cat, Jiji, was very sad when Chewie was gone. I don't know how he'll act these next few days as he realizes Silver is gone now, too.

The price of a life En Route has turned out to be greater than I had anticipated. The weight with which we handed over our dogs is still with me. As I learned with giving Chewbacca away, Silver's contributions and presence are irreplaceable. A clean house is not a good trade, no matter how many fewer times I now have to toss out clumps of silver hair.


Halloween, 2005


This has been a Sunday Scribblings about HAIR. (Good timing.)

6 comments:

Rob Kistner said...

Engaging post. Saying good-bye is never easy, even if it's pets, and even if it's for a good reason.

Question: how did the pooches take to their 'outfits'... ;)

boliyou said...

It's hard to have to part with a pet. They do leave a hole in the home when they're gone, whatever reason. Love the wonderful pictures of them. Good memories for you.

Patois said...

I have tears in my eyes. They could easily fall onto my keyboard. I know what you mean about being one of those people. I feared the same thing. Ultimately, maybe easier for me in the long run, our German Shepherd was killed by a car. We were just nearing the stage of what we would have to do with a dog who loved the four of us (my husband, 2-year-old son and 1-year-old daughter) fiercely but despised nearly everyone else. I'm sorry for you and your dogs.

gautami tripathy said...

Parting with pets is so difficult. When my brother's dog did, the kids were unconsolable..

I feel so bad for you.

Amber said...

Rob,

Well, the poor doggie-in-a-tutu accepted his fate, and the Silver Vader only wore her helmet for a brief moment. They were cute, though!

Sunday Scribblings said...

Oh Amber, this really made me sad. We lost our 13-year-old Siberian husky to cancer in January and I when I vacuum now (much less than I used to) I can't help but think of her. I used to call her Chewbaca sometimes because of the way she "talked" -- I've been missing her a lot lately. I hope things work out well for your doggies in their new homes!
-Laini