Wednesday, March 24, 2010

She Loves Me; She Loves Me Not...

(Actually, Abby always loved me.)

Even though early on I did not view Abby as my dog, I had a lot of fun playing with her, and she was a good companion for me, too. In that year, my parents divorced, my dad had been arrested, two relatives died, my research was spinning in place and going nowhere, and a hurricane swept through the area. It was not a good year for me, and Abby was a shining light in an otherwise miserable time. There is a saying that if you want a friend in Washington, then get a dog. By extension, the same thing can be said about graduate school.

Abby and I viewed each other as playmates, but when did Abby really become attached to me? I would say that the earliest sign I can remember was a little over a month after we bought Abby.

Before my mom went on vacation to her sister’s condo near Myrtle Beach, my mom decided that Abby would stay at my cousin’s house. Since I was gone most of the day, often from 8am until 11pm, leaving Abby alone for such a long time would be cruel to her. Besides, she was wild as hell, and there was no telling how much damage she would have done to our house when she would pitch a fit. And believe me; she did pitch fits when she was left alone for more than 5 minutes.

My cousin, Patty, had Nikki, a big yard, a young daughter and a pool, so Abby would always have company. Abby always loved company, and when she was young, she especially loved kids, so being at my cousin’s would be heaven for Abby. Of course, Abby always loved Nikki until the day Nikki died. As Abby aged and mellowed out, she would noticeably change whenever Nikki visited. Abby would revert to her old puppy ways and behave real silly and goofy around Nikki. Keeping Abby at my cousin’s was a good idea.

Anyway, at the end of the week, my cousin planned on going out of town herself, so she was going to drop off Abby at our place on Friday. When I arrived that afternoon, I saw a note on the porch. It was from my cousin. She told me how Abby had been that week and had gone into detail about it. The last line of the note read, ‘And Abby is out back in the fence.’ No sooner had I finished that last line than I heard Abby plaintively cry at the porch door. I hadn’t realized that Abby was in the backyard until I heard her cry out.

Abby immediately jumped up on me when I opened the door to greet her. When a dog wags its tail so real hard, the dog’s whole body starts to ‘wag’, shake and start to squiggle. Abby was elated to see me. I was happy, too, to see her and felt sorry for her being alone in the backyard, but her joy in seeing me far exceeded what I felt for her. I was happy to see her, there is no doubt about that, but I felt more pity that she was by herself. She hated being alone, and I knew that. At the time, I didn’t think she was particularly attached to me. I attributed her response at my arrival to being alone for a while, and the subsequent elation when somebody-anybody-came home to see her.

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