Friday, January 19, 2007

The heart is a lonely hunter.

After Oscar left us in late October, the grief was quiet and unrelenting. His absence, now these three months, has been hard to bear, but it's a testament to the enormous love he brought to our lives. Oscar's story is for another day. Now I want to tell you about something that surprised me.

Through a friend of a friend of mother of George's cousins John-and-Tanya [John and his family being longtime boxer lovers, and John being the one who taught us how to give Oscar his favorite ear-rub-noogie], we made plans to meet a boxer named Ciccio. You see, I had all but closed my mind to the idea of another dog, much less a boxer. Why? Because we just lost the most spectacular dog. How do you follow an act like that? When people asked us about getting another dog, we'd say "maybe someday", but secretly I couldn't imagine getting to that point. When George told me about Ciccio, he was gentle and understanding and careful to let me know about this opportunity without pressuring me. I started to ask questions about Ciccio and with every question I became more interested and knew that I was getting in deeper. I know this sounds kind of cheesy, but it's true: it was as if I felt my heart start to open up, like a physical response.

And so we drove to Nutley, New Jersey to meet the loveable pup and his very nice person. Sadly, Susie's engagement had dissolved and so had her plans for a solid life for Ciccio. She was trying to do the right thing for her dog. A smart boy, eager to please, Ciccio already knew how to get his leash when he needed to go out. He's in need of a home and training and someone's full attention. The visit left me confused and full of impressions and questions.

After a few days, George and I arrived at a similar conclusion: I wasn't ready for this just yet. You'd think this would be immediately evident, but it wasn't. I think there was too much I was trying to sort out. I was worried about Ciccio but I need some room to move, some time to get myself together. And so I called Susie. It was very hard to do this but she was gracious. I thanked her for letting us meet Ciccio and told her that although I was still grieving, I found that I did indeed want a boxer in my life again. And for that I was most grateful to her.

I've spent time since, thinking about boxer puppies because Oscar landed here when he was six months; he was already a teenager. I've also spent time researching rescue groups because I feel compelled to help that way. I just don't know which way to go... but at least I know we whould have another boxer. George has already thought of a name and I couldn't imagine coming up with anything more appropriate. Felix.

These photos are outtakes of Oscar. He was in a catalog for Big Yellow Box by Crayola and the photographer was John Sterling Ruth. John and Erik have been more than kind, welcoming Oscar into their studio on a regular basis. Ever since that shoot, Oscar was allowed to accompany me and hang out on their leather couch and nosh on snacks they gave him. [Actually one time, he earned his bread there by repeatedly signaling there was something in the reconverted barn's wall. A raccoon had made a nest there! Click on On the Set at John's site to see the photos they took while they had the mother and babies extricated from the wall. Just so you know, the company that took care of this has a policy where they release all healthy wildlife into a sanctuary.] The bowl you see in these photos is marked Daisy but that would later be retouched to read Oscar.

He was such a gem that I have trouble expressing how extraordinary he was. In fact, I have no idea how to end this post. There's really no way to do it except to say, yes indeed, he's a tough act to follow... but as of this past weekend, I know that I know I'll tell you about some boxerly development in my life. At this point, I can't imagine life without a sweet pouty little face.

1 comment:

Leann said...

:( Oh holy crap, I DREAD DREAD the day we have to deal with this kind of stuff. We have a madhouse full of animals here. Well what quickly grew to a full house.
I had ONE cat, Memphis aka the antichrist
Clair had THREE, Murphy, Matisse, and Picasso
We moved in together and immediately become the weird people with 4 cats.
THEN my mother loses her shit, and starts treating my 2 shih-tzus from my teenage-hood like crap and making them stay ouside in NW Tennessee, and I wasn't having that.
So we rescued them and their now BRATTY spoiled selves, huddle up on us in the bed when we let them, if they aren't lying around on the fleece pillow I crafted for them. :)
So we now have the FOUR cats, and the TWO dogs, Dusty and Trixie (which clearly we didn't name).........
a patridge and a pear tree and we're SET!

Holy crap can I run all over the place or what? But, anyway, I DREAD DREAD hate and loathe the day we have to deal with this stuff, and all of our animals are around 12-13 years old. ugh.

I am sorry you guys have had to deal with this stuff.