You may recall we have this really great dog:
With each passing day she settles in more and more, gets more doggie-socialized, gets even cuter somehow, and elicits old and new reactions from passersby on the street. You’ll recall she’s a tripod, or you won’t, but in either case you know it now. Anyway, we hear a lot of wows and that’s amazings and such, and then from time to time we get something a little different. So far my personal favorite happened the other day when a woman took a look at her and simply exclaimed “Whoops!”
One woman, who clearly was a dog person, mustered up her cutesiest syrupy-sweet doggie voice and gently chided Wynette for forgetting her missing leg at home. It sounds rude as I type it out, but it actually came across as sweet and loving, and so I tabled my stink-eye for someone more deserving. Then there was the little boy, age 10 or so, who took one look at Wynette and put his hand over his heart and said quietly: “I just feel so bad.”
Anyway, the best reactions come when I take her to the dog park, which I’ve started doing a lot recently. The dog park, you understand, is the very best most greatest thing ever to Wynette. She achieves nirvana every time she goes. She spends the entire time sprinting madly from one spot to another, pausing occasionally to wrestle with another dog or to eat a stick, and when she’s in full sprint it’s pretty hard not to watch. And though I tend not to think of Wynette as disabled – since she really isn’t – I can’t help but beam with a little bit of pride when folks gasp and marvel at her resilience. I can’t pretend to take any credit for her cuteness and athleticism, but I can certainly enjoy it.
Anyway, Wynette’s become such a fixture in our lives – a member of the family, really – that we’re a little sad she can’t participate in the wedding. Ideally, we’d put a bow or a doggie tux or something horrendously cute like that on her and have her walk down the aisle or carry the rings or something like that, but the truth is, she’s not that kind of dog. Or maybe she’s too young to pull it off. The point is, though, she’d have absolutely no interest in the ceremony. She’d probably wind her way through the guests, jump on a lap or two, lick some face, and then sprint off down the hillside and eat grass, and we’d have to assign a “Dog Wrangler” to watch her the whole time.
But along with sadness comes a healthy dose of acceptance. Wynette just isn’t a dog who we can take everywhere and not worry about. She isn’t independent in any way. She may not ever be an off-leash dog. But you know what? Many dogs are like her. Most, probably. And she’s so gosh-darned awesome in so many ways that it really doesn’t matter. During the process of training her and socializing her, I had the wonderful realization that we’re not helping her become the dog we want; we’re helping guide her towards being the best dog she can be. And so far, she’s been an incredible dog and we could not possibly love her any more than we do.
And finally, she’ll actually be participating in the wedding without even knowing it. Without giving too much away, her likeness will (partially) grace at least two things – invitations and wedding cake – and perhaps more. So while she won’t be there with us on our special day, her presence will be felt. After all, she’s part of the family.