Monday, October 05, 2009

i dream of Eli

My dreams have been rife with tragedy lately. Dreams of fire, earthquakes, burglars, scary things.....I often wake with the stink of fear still clinging to me and my heart pounding in my chest. But through all the terror that these awful dreams have wrought, I feel an iota of comfort. Eli has been there. He ran with me from a fire in the basement of an old house that I couldn't find my way out of last night. A week ago, he growled and snapped at thieves that were breaking into the house to steal photos of Jeff. He helped me dig a hole....Okay, this one I can't understand, but he was helping me dig.
The security, safety and lack of loneliness I felt was intensely comforting. I know he was 'just a dog' and most likely would scoff myself if reading this elsewhere....But he was my buddy. We had been through all the most important things in my life together and we trusted each other.

When Eli and I found each other, I was ending a long and abusive relationship. Eli had been surrendered to a woman I knew who worked with the homeless. He had been abused too. He was head shy and jumpy, but SO wanted to please.

He stuck to me like glue and was more devoted to me than I knew a dog could be. He never strayed. He never wandered....unless it was to follow me covertly into the grocery store without me knowing a few paces back.

He was OBSESSED with the ball...or a bottle cap or a rock or log. Anything he could pick up became fodder for play. He'd drop it in my lap while I was deep in conversation and stare expectantly at me. Often, it was annoying that I could take him to the beach and play for two hours after our almost daily 5 km walk and he would STILL want to play. As he got older and we both grew less active, he still found huge joy in fetching anything he could get his jaws on.

I knew everyone of his sighs, grunts and barks. He knew by my body language if it was time to snuggle or time to make himself scarce. I knew he hated it when people wore sombreros. He knew I hated it when he chewed cedar chunks into smithereens (doesn't mean he'd stop, however).
He was aloof with those he didn't know and I loved that he couldn't care less about the existence of other dogs....as long as they didn't try to snake his ball.

I miss him. I long to have his rough coat to pet absent mindedly as I watch tv. I yearn for the comfort of knowing that he would warn me of anything out of the ordinary or hearing the rhythm of his breathing in the dark.

Admintedly, I have been browsing ads for dogs needing homes. I realize that I can't financially afford another addition to our household and that I have chicken, door knob and garbage eating, overly enthusiastic, fur machine another dog But I stare longingly at these furry creatures and wonder what a life containing them would be like. I know that I am maybe searching for Eli and I won't ever find him, but I also feel that I am looking to repay my sweet boy's years of love and devotion by offering a warm, safe and loving home to another big furry heart in need.

I miss you, Snoopy Headed Dude. You were the best dog anyone could ever dream of and I'm glad that you are there in my nightmares to comfort me. I love you, my boy.

7 comments:

Suddenwidow said...

Jackie,
I loved reading your post. All of us who have amazing dogs can totally relate to the special relationship between some people and their canine family members. I'm glad Eli is in your dreams to bring you comfort.
Wishing you peaceful dreams with Eli by your side,
Debbie

indybarb said...

Wow Jackie. That was a great post and really portrayed how you felt about awesome Eli, who was not just a dog, but an amazing companion for you and you for him. Those of us who have had those canine relationships can totally relate and they can sometimes seem to be the most important relationships in our lives because their love for us is so unconditional. So wonderful that he was there in your dreams to comfort you. Thank you for sharing your words and feelings with us stranger/friends. I am crying at my desk this morning over this one and it makes me want to run out and get myself a canine companion again. It's been much too long : )

Jen said...

Thank you, Jackie, for bringing Eli to life and sharing him with us. I am so glad he is your spirit guide in your dreams, and could be interpreted as positive sign of strength and healing for you.

Jill said...

I understood everything you wrote. And I don't think any of it is goofy.

Lori P said...

I'm the queen of not being able to afford anything like wants... SO I understand your hesitance in the financial committment to a new member of the family. All of that understanding aside I say find a dog you all want to adopt. The few extra dollars that go towards dog food, etc are more than repaid in sloppy kisses, tail wags, cuddle sessions, etc. You know this. When you really want something you find a way to make it happen. I know a new dog isn't going to fix all that's broken, but it's a damn good start. If you decide to ever get a dog, let me know please = ) It will make me happy. That might sound insane, but nonetheless. I want to hear about it if you get a new dog/puppy. xo.

Poppy and Mei said...

No such thing as "Just a dog"...XXxx.

Maureen in PA said...

Jackie-

I will never say that I understand what you are feeling regarding the loss of Jeff. I don't. It's a loss too huge for me to comprehend.
But I can relate to losing your Eli. I lost Daisy, the love of my life, in April after a 2 year battle with bone cancer. I understand the ache and loneliness of losing your best (canine) friend. I've read in places that, with the exception of immediate family members, losing a pet can be as traumatic as any other death. I truly believe that. I know that people can;t understand why I wear a heart necklace that contains her ashes. I know people don't understand why I cried my eyes out last week on her birthday anniversary. But the relationship with a dog is a simple, pure, uncomplicated type of love. It's the kind of relationship that is almost impossible to have with a human. They love you no matter how you look, what your mood is, what your opinions are, etc. and they love you with all of their being. I used to joke that whether I was gone for 2 weeks or just went to the mailbox, Daisy's excitement to see me was equally as enthusiastic.
Losing Eli so soon after Jeff was truly heartbreaking for me to read. I wanted to say something to you at that time, but couldn't find words that didn't sound trite. I'm not sure I'm any better now.
I guess what I'm trying to say is that I do understand, and for those that feel that it is silly to be so upset over a pet, well, I feel sorry for them that they nave never experienced what its like to love and be loved by an animal.

In my canine bone cancer group, we refer to those kind of dreams and signs as "pennies" as in pennies from heaven. Maybe its Eli's way of telling you something....
~Maureen