Boxing Day, 2019.
My very first visit to the UK was on Boxing Day back in 1993 and I remember that my hosts were watching horse racing. I was a shy woman who played skittles for the first time, tried to blend into the background, and observe as much as possible. While English is my first language, the nuances of British English many times made me feel as if I didn’t understand the language at all. While I frequently felt chilled in the wet English winter, I loved the festive feel of Christmas lights, warm, firelit pubs, and the joyfulness of the New Year.
Tonight, Boxing Day, I sit on a sofa near Scout’s spot on a chaise that has become the dominion for my dogs over the years. It was Shevy’s dominion from 1997 to 2012 and Scout’s from 2012 to now.
These days as old age settles on Scout he barks in the evening as darkness falls. Sometimes I’m able to pinpoint his focus; at others, I see nothing, hear nothing. I am willing to believe that he smells his foxy friend who trails sometimes too close for comfort on late night walks. Maybe fox is waiting to walk with his larger canine friend.
Yet, the larger worry is that dementia may be lurking.
Scout sleeps so much these days, a sleep that is deep with trembling legs as if he’s chasing or being chased. I let him sleep. I watch over him in a way that I never watched over my previous three dogs. He’s the angel. He’s the one who came to me from something so traumatic and painfully palpable that I file it back into a drawer relegated for unpleasant and unvisited necessities.
The days when he feels real joy are so exquisite and have always been so to me. You may not understand what I’m saying. Imagine a child who never experienced anything good in its life but suddenly has toys, wonderful food, people who love. That child exudes joy with a large smile and giggles. Scout’s joy is shown in a wagging tail, a delighted gallop, and a smile, a doggie smile that lifts your heart.
As I sit here, his barking has begun again. I’ll stop now. I’d like to think he loves me to be sitting nearby.
I hope that you all have had a wonderful holiday, whichever one it is that you may celebrate. My heart is with you all.
Sascha, Scout, and Sophie