I am an autum spirit, always have been. If it's dark and dim or blustery, if it's slightly decrepit and rusting, if there are blowing leaves and sullen gray skies and the threat of rain I am in my very happiest place. But something has happened to me this summer since I adopted Thing 1 and Thing 2. Our daily walks in Tower Grove Park mean that I have been, all summer long, much more attuned to the rhythms of nature than at any other time in my life. Since June I have watched the coneflowers bloom and begin to fade, I've seen the geese arrive and fly away again, I've watched mushrooms grow and duckweed take over the lily pond. Watching these things happen has been a delight, and watching them begin to fade is making me nostalgic for summer in way that I was not expecting, and haven't been since grade school.
In May I unexpectedly lost one of my chihuahuas. Louis was an independent little soul, and he came into my life seven years ago with a big attitude and a strong desire to be left to his own devices. Between Jake with his incessant health problems and Chelsea with her overwhelming personality issues, I came to consider Louis my utility dog. Didn't need a lot of attention, didn't cause a lot of problems, and likely to be the background noise in my life for a long, long time. When his heart unexpectedly failed I was devastated. Both because I felt as if I should have paid more attention to his symptoms (chihuahuas are prone to heart problems, I'd been through it with two others before him.) and because it was just so sudden. One day he was rolling on his back in the sunshine in the yard, and then later that day he couldn't breathe, and I had to say goodbye to him. Having just lost my Jake the year before I was suddenly down to a one-dog household, something that I hadn't experienced in more than ten years. And I was not expecting that my tiny, cranky octogenarian Chelsea would be with me too much longer.
— Charles Schulz So a week or so later (much too soon according to any recommended timeline but the one of my heart) I was on Petfinder.com looking for some new chaos to bring into my life. Mornings without a riot of chihuahuas demanding attention and feeding? Empty. Walking around the house without constantly tripping over tiny animals? Pointless. I needed more big-eared creatures running around my life. I had the idea to adopt two animals at once, a bonded pair. Both because I knew they were typically harder to home, and because I wanted to ensure they'd get along well. My last set of three dogs had what I'd describe as a polite detente. They co-habited, but without joy and absolutely without snuggling. When I'd sit down, they'd triangulate equidistant from me and each other, and settle in with baleful, untrusting glances at the others. I wanted a god-damned cuddle factory this time. I wanted joy and love and ear licks. Boy did I get what I signed up for.
Happiness is a warm puppy.