I've been having a peculiar experience while working in the cabin as of late: call it a "phantom dog" phenomenon, where I keep thinking I'm catching peripheral sight of the normally omnipresent dog out of the corner of my eye. There's a constant, subtle double-take every time I remember that she ain't there, just enough to make a ripple of momentary regret. The presence of the absence is keenest when I sit down to eat and she's not there in the background makin' hairy eyeballs at me, to say nothing of having to spend all this extra time in the kitchen without the assistance of, uh, an organic cleaning agent.
And no, nothing quite as drastic a loss as a death here, just a temporary relocation (more on that later) while separated by five-thousand+ miles. As usual, the cats couldn't care less one way or the other. We did have a brief scare last month when the Bird-Dog lost usage of her back end, which led to some logistical difficulties not to mention total panic and fear. Turns out (contrary to the worst-case scenarios courtesy of the dreaded "diagnosis by internet") it was a case of "vestibular disease" - common and mysterious affliction in many older dogs that has to do with equilibrium, and is completely self-recoverable with a couple weeks of care and attention (and lots of treats).
“Why can't we get all the people together in the world that we really like and then just stay together? I guess that wouldn't work. Someone would leave. Someone always leaves. Then we would have to say good-bye. I hate good-byes. I know what I need. I need more hellos.” – Snoopy