It had been a busy morning, finishing up the remainder of putting the house back in order. We went for a comic book and grocery run in the bitter cold New York temps, then returned home to settle into a relaxing afternoon on the sofa together with the dogs, enjoying the solitude and calm of our newly returned-to-normal home, warm and cozy, safe from the blistering cold just outside our door.
After situating ourselves on either end of the couch, Harvey quickly curled up in a tiny ebony puddle between my legs, while Rita sauntered her way onto the blanket draped casually over the side of Jeffrey’s leg and thigh, settling into an awkward-appearing restful position, half nestled, half hanging, as she is wont to do.
After a few moments of petting and tail wagging, she breathed a deep sigh and sank into his side. I stared at her, growing teary eyed as I remembered the first time I saw her, from across the room, surrounded by a cacophony of excited, yapping dogs, her little snout silently poking through the chain-link fence that separated the canine orphans from the human parents-to-be. We made eye contact, and I made a bee-line for her. It was love at first sight. I continued to glide through the memory, recalling how I was handed her leash, quickly scooping her up, and holding her lovingly but clumsily, realizing she was all muscle, shaking furiously, scared out of her mind. She was nothing like I ever imagined getting, but everything I could ever want. I clutched her firmly and warmly, whispering reassurance into her ear that she was safe, and promising her she would be more loved and cared for than she could ever imagine. I promised her she would always know she was my special girl.
And then, as my lip started to tremble, and the muscles in my face tightened (as they do when I inadvertently attempt to stop the tears I know are inevitably going to flow from the emotion sweeping over me) that’s when it happened…
Rita puffed out a little dog-toot from her heiny…shattering the silence and sending me into a fit of laughter*, as only Rita Mae can do!
Princess without polish, precious without pretension.
That’s my girl!
*”Laughter through tears is my favorite emotion.” – Truvy (Dolly Parton) Jones, Steel Magnolias