I'm sure it was something rooted in loneliness and in finding my way in a new place; but last month, when a bunch of uncertainties were jumbled up in the air over my head, the only point of clarity was, "I must have a dog." It seemed positive that a new dog-friend would be my new best-friend. We would walk around the lake together every day; and when I rambled on, no longer to No One, but to the dog, he would do that cocked-head-fluffed-ears thing that Roscoe used to do, like he could actually understand all of my words, probably on a deeper level than any human could be expected to.
I had been committed to multi-daily dog searches for several weeks before I found Thomas. And sure, the resemblance to Roscoe is uncanny; but it was more about his perfect age and how he needed a home and how you could tell how soft his fur was, just from the photos. Trevor made the arrangements for us to meet, and it was clear within minutes that he would be Our Dog. It didn't take Thomas long to understand he'd been left with us, and his perkiness disintegrated into timidity. There might be nothing sadder than a sad dog. I patiently waited for Thomas's realization he was Our Dog to warm him up into My Dog, specifically, trying to butter him up with a soft voice and treats and pets.
To be clear, Trevor didn't want a dog. I mean, he was supportive of my wanting a dog, and generally, if there's something I want, he'll move heaven and earth to get it for me (which is a really good quality in a man). But he didn't want the dog for himself, exactly. It was just for the general merriment and fulfillment of his family.
Thomas decided this a most attractive quality in choosing to whom he was to belong. Apparently he's the sort to like a "hard to get" man, which I don't misunderstand, really. It's just. He was supposed to be mine, and despite recognizing the sheer immaturity of it, as Thomas grew to love Trevor more and more each day, I got a little poutier about it.
I had put so much stake in the dog being my friend, and honestly, in the dog fixing some things I'm working through. I am trying to establish myself in a new, tiny town. I am trying to navigate a new phase of motherhood in which my children leave me for more of the day than they are with me. I am trying to figure out what it is I do with this newly found time, in the face of a career setback or two. In essence: I wanted some meaning beyond myself, and I thought a dog-friend would give me that. Or, at least, upon reflection, this was the overly introspective reason I decided upon to explain my juvenile disappointment in the dog following Trevor around the house instead of me.
Nothing is bad in my life right now, but that doesn't mean things aren't challenging. When life is shooting you down with trial after trial, it's easy to ascribe your weariness to that. But when everything is good and you still feel unsure or tired, well, how do you explain that? In our humanness, we expect that whatever we emphasize as Important, with a little work and luck, there the answers will follow. Except life--and our Divine guidance in it--doesn't work that way. Instead, you focus all of your energy on a Thing, putting lots of pressure on that Thing, and, if you aren't careful, develop tunnel vision to the Thing, missing entirely the giant flag waving about in your peripheral vision. "Come this way instead! You won't be disappointed!"
This is a lesson I've faced many times, yet whenever it's dressed differently--like failure beckoning the energy to "try again"; or sitting still instead of jetting off--I get confused about it being the same thing. I've got to learn it again. I've got to accept the fact that just because I want the dog to love me, doesn't mean I'm going to be his favorite.
In short, things don't always turn out the way we imagine. But on a sunny day, wiped out from a 5k with Trevor, Thomas will trot into the living room, proud of himself, but exhausted; and he'll curl up next to me like a little baby, knowing that I'll stroke the top of his head until he falls asleep.