When I pull up our upcoming land/sea tour of Alaska on the Princess Cruises website it tells me we are 11 days away from our adventure! I’ve been doing some “special items” shopping this week – things like those wonderful three ounce containers of shampoo, toothpaste, and hairspray – and a trip to the shoe store for a comfortable pair of walking shoes,. The first few days of our trip will be spent in Fairbanks and then on to Denali National Park. The Weather Channel says we can look for highs in the upper 60’s there. But, when we reach our sea cruise port (Whittier), and I look at weather around the cities where we’ll be stopping, the Weather Channel is saying highs in the 40’s and 50’s! It looks like we’ll be taking a few more layering items than we thought at first, but hey – I’m going to be a happy camper to have a couple of weeks of cooler weather. It’s been HOT and muggy here for the last few days – you know, that sauna type of heat!
Along with prep for the trip we’ve stayed busy with some fun activities in the neighborhood.
MARKING A PASSING
On Monday, May 1, we mark the first anniversary of the passing of our beautiful Bear. I remember that day in still vivid flashbacks – a day of retching heartbreak and tears I felt would never end. All I still have to do is think about my sweet boy, and I will instantly tear up and usually have myself a good cry.
So, six months ago . . . I set out to find another Bear.
It’s taken me quite a while to admit that. Oh, I said I just loved the breed and wanted another golden retriever. But what I really wanted was another Bear – quiet, sweet, eager to please, obedient, and calm. That’s what I wanted.
But what I got was Bodie – a dog determined NOT to be Bear. He was (and to some extent still is) an excited-to-be-alive, chewing, gobbling-up-anything-in-sight, bouncing, zooming-through-the-house-at-full-run, can’t-wait-to-jump-in-the-car-and-go-somewhere dynamo. He tries my patience nearly every day, loves to sneak in the closet and see what I’ve left on the floor for him to steal, and his favorite game is to take a tennis ball and roll it UNDER any piece of furniture where it will fit. Why? Because he knows I will have to get up and rescue it for him – which might mean I can be coerced into a game of fetch. If that doesn’t work, and I go sit back down, he will just paw the ball back under another low table or couch. Eventually I get the message.
I know for the first few months Bodie thought his name WAS Bear. That is what Ted and I both called him. That’s just what came out of our mouths. It was always “Bear! I mean Bodie!”, followed by “No, Stop, Don’t, Quit, Get Down, Get OFF!” You get my drift.
Slowly though, this dog-determined-not-to-be-Bear barreled his way into our hearts. It was almost as though he knew if he acted like Bear we would always think of him as Bear – and he was determined to be loved on his own terms. In the last couple of months he has turned a corner, and we are beginning to see the adult dog he will become. He loves exuberantly, plays flat out, and thinks sticking his entire snout into his water bowl and blowing bubbles all over the floor is a real hoot. But he also comes when he’s called, sits, stays, lies down, backs up, waits before digging into his food, and heels by my side off-leash from our front door all the way out to the end of the intracoastal dock and back home. He jumps into the car whenever the door is opened and loves to ride anywhere. He’s still a little nuts when he meets people or other dogs, but hey nobody’s perfect.
I say all that to say this. I will forever in my heart love Bear – he was beautiful, noble, kind, and an old soul even at an early age. He was the dog I needed at the time I had him.
But if Bodie had been another Bear, I would be sitting on the couch reading or binge watching Netflix, and eating bon-bons every day. Bodie gets me outside for long walks, he keeps me hopping physically and mentally (trying to stay one step ahead of him), and his goof-ball antics make me laugh out loud at least 10 times a day. His sunny outlook on life helps me have one too.
Bodie is the dog I needed now. I love him differently than I loved Bear, but I absolutely love him no less. He hasn’t taken Bear’s place in my heart, but he owns a piece of my heart I didn’t even know was there. It is Bodie’s place, and he will hang out there for as long as God allows us to be together.
I hope that’s a long, long time.