A week ago something terrible happened. We lost Harvey. It was quite possibly the worst thing that has happened to me in recent memory. I could not get it together. Sounds were coming out of my mouth that I didn’t know I could make. Sobbing? Keening? Even at the time, I knew that the noises I was making were NOT pretty. But there was no way I could stop them.
Right now, he is here. His ear is flopped over my arm as I type this. But the fact is, he could have very easily been gone forever. I won’t go into details, but the basics are this: after a walk, Harvey slipped back out the door-no collar, no leash, nothing that would tell a passersby that he is our Bubz, our Harvoo. The door was closed, the afternoons activities continued, and when I went to the third floor (Harvey’s safe haven from ear pulling 16-month olds and garbage truck-crashing 3-yr-olds) to take a shower after dinner, I realized he wasn’t there. The evening passed in a blur: Phone calls were made, emails and posts to various social media were created, signs were put up, children were pushed around in strollers and given a reprieve from nightly clean up.
After the longest hour of my life (spent literally running around the neighborhood and then running back to the computer to check emails), I ran into a woman who mentioned that she had, in fact, seen Harvey and that someone had told her that they were going to bring Harvey home to a friend’s house in the neighborhood. This gave me a little peace, but, of course there was a part of me that knew “they” might just keep Harvey forever. Because, seriously, who wouldn’t? He’s the best dog ever (except for the stinky breath, the incessant licking, and his ability to take up 3/4 of our bed, despite only weighing 20 pounds).
We got a phone call around 11 pm that Harvey was about a block away. I am guessing he spent about 2 hours sitting on our front porch wondering why no one would let him back in. Then the next hour (before he was picked up) Harvey happily spent eating all the gross stuff on 45th Street between Pine and Osage. He made a doggy friend at his “foster” home, and the people who had taken care of him were truly sad to see him go, despite the fact that he puked up who knows what (TWICE) in their house.
Before he went to bed, Elijah said to me, “Harvey will be home tomorrow.” With all the certainy in the world. He helped Daddy call for Harvey while they prowled the streets, he patted my arm while I cried. He was obviously concerned about Harvey: “Is he all alone?” I don’t know, sweetheart.” “I’m really sad he’s all alone.” But he remained collected and hopeful, which is more than I can say for myself. Obviously I don’t know if he understood the weight of the situation, but it was oddly calming. Remy, who had no clue what was going on, was as overjoyed as ever to see her favorite creature again in the morning.
I wrote a post this summer on mindfulness for Inhabitots, and I really have been trying to be more grateful for the things I usually take for granted. I have always loved Harvey, but he can get lost in the shuffle of the kids and other goings-on in our house. Let me put it this way: he no longer gets to camp out under my arm for hours at a time while I type a paper or nap. My mind went to some dark places while Harvey was gone. For some reason, I truly believed he had not been hit by a car or anything like that. But the idea that I wouldn’t get to say goodbye to my faithful friend, that he would spend the rest of his (hopefully plentiful) days in another house, with people who had no idea how much he loves bananas, was truly excruciating. I can’t stop telling him how much we love him, how soft his ears are, how cute he is. I get the feeling he is thinking, “It’s about time you remembered how wonderful I am.”
I am in the process of revamping this blog: I want to do more with food, more general writing, etc. I hope you’ll like it. To tide you over until that happens, here are some pics from the last few weeks/months.
Now go and give your pet a smooch!