Slice of Life Day 5

dobbyI shared this “ten things” list on Facebook when I put my dog to sleep in early December but haven’t really had a chance to reflect on it. I wrote it then, as a sort of memorial for my dog of 12 years, Dobby, modeling it after Opal’s list of 10 things about her mother in Because of Winn Dixie. (If you’ve never tried writing your own list of 10 things about someone, you might find it to be as therapeutic as I did.)

Aside from births and my wedding in 2013, no other post has gotten more attention than this one. I don’t put too much on Facebook…just the occasional (adorable) kid photo so what I guess I did though, was show my vulnerable side, especially in the ninth thing about Dobby. I hadn’t shown that side of me, to many…It sort of feels like opening your chest up, spreading your ribs, and letting everyone get a good look at your beating heart…messy, scary, terrifying.

What I didn’t say in that piece and what you had to infer, was that before that time, before I became a single mom, one person would cause the fur along Dobby’s spine to rise up and when he was gone, it just stopped.

For this I remember, that life is full of good and bad but I think we need the bad to appreciate the good.

Ten Things About Dobby (written 12/6/14)

10/19/02 – 12/5/14

  1. Didn’t matter how long she knew you, if you sat on the couch she would sit next to you and lean her whole body weight on you to get comfortable.
  2. If you brought home pizza crust and hid it, she thought it was the best game ever. That dog’s nose could sniff the good stuff out in a second.
  3. Dobby was a habitual kid fort wrecker. Every. Single. Time.
  4. When alone, and despite all efforts to keep trash cans up high, Dobby would find used tissues or sometimes whole boxes of tissues, tear them up into pieces, and prance around, flinging shreds into the air.
  5. Dobby took to eating small and colorful plastic toys in the last couple of years. Ingested items included: an “Ants in the Pants” ant, a Kinex piece, and a plastic dinosaur leg.
  6. Sleeping under the covers, by my feet, was her favorite spot. In recent years she did less of that, though she spent her last night on Earth laying alongside my whole body.
  7. Dobby had a red rain jacket and hated getting wet. She wore that jacket and a pathetic look as I would stand at the door prodding her butt, out into a downpour.
  8. She tolerated the arrival of not one, or two, but three tiny humans into her home, and each time reacted with curiosity and kisses. If left alone with a baby, she would lick their mouth and inside of their mouth until a big human stopped her.
  9. She bore witness to some very dark moments in her first nine years of life and always stayed by my side. The hair on her back never rose up after December of 2010, until three days ago which let me know she wasn’t well.
  10. Dobby lived up to her Harry Potter house elf namesake. She was loyal and lovable, sometimes could drive you crazy but always made me smile.

9 thoughts on “Slice of Life Day 5

  1. Pets fill our hearts and leave such a gaping hole when we lose them. Sometimes it is good to remind those in our life that you do have a beating heart that can break. Your words filled my eyes with tears as I thought of my pets.


  2. So thankful you re-used this post – it is lovely! I’m sorry for the loss of your companion, but you have kept her legacy through this beautiful tribute.

    To me, writing is most attractive when it is vulnerable. As difficult as cracking up our chest is, it is also the most rewarding. As Brene Brown reminds us in “Daring Greatly” – we grow through our vulnerability.

    I was going to stop reading sol posts and get ready for work until I saw your link, and I forced myself to read ‘just one more’, because your writing is so good. I’m glad I did! This was wonderful!


  3. Dana,
    I connected to so many sentiments in your post. The vet used to chastise me for my dog’s love of Kleenex. It was like dog cotton candy to her. We tried our best to keep them away from her, but she would find them.
    I know it is emotional and cathartic all at once opening one’s heart by writing close to the vest, but I thank you for sharing. I encourage you to write on, you have a powerful and beautiful voice!


    • Ah, thank you Teresa! So glad you connected to my words…learning through this experience that connections from teacher to teacher, writer to write are incredibly valuable.


  4. Such a loving, lovely post. When we allow ourselves to be vulnerable, we touch others in deep ways, like a ripple – you never know where it will end. Thanks for sharing that list. I lost our cat of 21 years two years ago and that list making helped. But I still miss her. (Loved Winn Dixie – read it so many times in my classroom each year. Judith Viorst Wrote “The Tenth Good Thing about Barney” – usually read this with the list chapter of Winn Dixie)


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