Ten years ago today I had no idea that my life was about to change. I might've been home reliving another tedious and horrific week at work, dealing with the annoying and seemingly helpless students who buzzed around my desk like annoying gnats. Or maybe I was at the gym, running on the treadmill or going through the horrific squat routine that always rendered my legs nearly useless the next day. Or maybe Ken and I had gone to dinner as we often did on Saturdays back then. I'd just lost my grandmother seven weeks earlier and often spent those nights revisiting old letters from her while wishing she'd visit me in my dreams to tell me everything would be alright. Whatever I was doing, I had no idea that eight weeks later Ken would arrive with the little red dog who would become my best friend and brother.
Duncan has changed my life in ways I never imagined on that cold November evening, the first night I held him in my arms, asked him if his name was Duncan, and watched as he winked in reply. He saved my life in the darkest of moments, and when his own life was in danger, I did everything in my power to return the favor. We have walked thousands of miles together, cuddled and cried together, ran and played, shared moments no one else would understand. My dog quickly became the center of my life and I haven't regretted it, not for a single moment.
He turned ten years old today, and while he may not understand the significance, he has certainly reaped the rewards, and I hope that he is somehow able to understand my joy at witnessing his own. There is nothing I won't do for him and so I made today his.
It started early with a long walk and a Frisbee toss that made me late for work, a fact I didn't mind at all. And when I returned we had another long walk, both of us relishing the cool rain. We stopped by the leasing office where the staff has grown to love him. Melissa, the woman who prepared our lease and was there at our first moments in this new home, sang to him and gave him treats, not minding one bit that his wet paws were leaving little puddles on the edge of her desk.
And then, as always, it was off to Hero's where they sang to him and literally showered him with a bowl of treats.
And then it was home were he had a dinner of chicken and peanut butter, and then got his presents: a giant bumblebee to match Buzz, his dragonfly, a great big smoked bone, two bully sticks, a new penguin to replace Percy, and two big dog cookies shaped like birthday cakes. The good folks at the dog park wished him a happy birthday, he played Frisbee again, and is now curled up on my bed going to town on his bully stick. He is a happy dog and my heart is soaring just being near him.
Ten years ago everything changed. Grandma was gone and I was struggling to come to terms with that, but I've sometimes wondered if she didn't find Duncan out there and nudge him in my direction, giving me someone who would stand beside me and watch over me after she was no longer able to do so herself. It doesn't matter if that's true or not. What matters is that he has been there for me in more ways than I can count, taught me more than I thought I'd ever learn, and has been a better friend than I ever thought I deserved.
Happy birthday, Roo. Happy birthday, brother.