How do you spell ‘joy’?

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‘Joy’ is spelled D-O-G

(According to Dave, whose Frompt response makes my heart smile.)

During the start of this holiday season, joy has been elusive for me in some ways. I’ve tried writing this three times and each time found something… flawed… enough that it made me not want to complete that version, much less read it. So I sat on it and really thought about what joy means to me. I keep coming back to one particular moment of joy that seemed so… pure… that I hope to never forget it. And it wasn’t even my joy – but it was shared with me.

A few years ago, we trekked Dave-style from the Eastern seaboard back to the land of my roots for a week and a half. A chance to catch up with family, expose the kids to that family that molded me into the wackiness that is me, and make it a vacation.

As is my nature, one of the things I fretted about was the state of the household while everyone was gone. There’s something unsettling about being away from home for more than a day or two – not knowing that everything that makes up the day-to-day is still okay in the absence, or maybe that it even exists (ahem: Schrödinger, anyone?) One of the things I worried about most was The Dog. At that point in life, she had been with us for about 7 years and was the best dog friend I could imagine (of course, I’m not biased). She’s an outside dog, always has been, and pretty low maintenance.

I had talked Work Spouse into stopping over to feed and water her every two days. That would be sufficient: she’s a smart enough dog not to eat unless she’s hungry. She doesn’t need to have her food regulated. That took care of the basics, but I still fretted. An outside dog, unfenced and unchained, free to range as she wishes – would she get restless and impatient with her people gone? As the trip wound down, and time to head home grew closer, I grew more anxious that she would just be… gone.

And then the day was there. We pulled into the driveway after a 22-hour road trip back home.

The first thing I checked was the house – yep, it was still there; Work Spouse hadn’t burned it down in our absence. Then I started looking around a bit anxiously for The Dog.

The anxiety and worry faded to nothing immediately. From the moment I opened the car door, I could hear her yipping. If you have ever heard that type of yipping and barking, I don’t need to explain it.

Memory. Ecstasy. Realization. Happiness. Completeness. Exultation. All conveyed in that simple dog voice.

Her people were home. Her family, her tribe, her pack, were back with her. Nothing else mattered or was needed; she had waited patiently for ten days – I don’t know what adventures or loneliness she had during those days – and that was rewarded. Instead of being her more muted, middle-aged seven year old self, she leaped around like a puppy again.

It showed me joy, in a pure and innocent way, that nothing else – or nobody – ever could.

Dave's Dog

0 thoughts on “How do you spell ‘joy’?

  1. Pingback: Lost In Translation | Normal Deviations

  2. dgwolf

    Thank you for this!
    Our 16 year old Sophie has been moping since our other dog, Gambol, died last year. When our cat, Sher Khan, died at the end of the summer, Sophie started fading. “Her family, her tribe, her pack,” had been decimated. The boys who used to play with her have grown up and started households of their own, only my Spice and I remained. We have erratic and often long houred work schedules, so she was alone way too much.
    She passed away last Thursday evening. Even up to an hour before she died, a touch or a voice would set her tail to thumping even though she could barely move anything else.
    It was really hard digging a grave in the frozen ground, but MUCH harder filling it in.
    This post made me remember that she not only FELT unadulterated joy, she shared it. She broadcast it!
    Our house is filled with sadness over her loss. But that JOY will remain with us forever.

    1. Mrs Fever Post author

      My heart goes out to you at the loss of your beloved pets, especially so quickly in succession of one another. I wish you peace through the pain of your loss, and may those embers of joy continue to warm your heart through through the coldest spells of your grief.



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