|Photo copyright Wings, 2017; all rights reserved.|
Her name was Dommy, for her little half-domino mask. Also Dom, Doms, Dom-Doms, Dommers, Little Dom-Dom Girl. I learned eventually that in Japanese, the same-sounding word meant "dumb." She was not, as these things go, always the sharpest knife in the drawer, but that was more a common sense issue than a smarts issue.
She was another of my rescues, one with a damaged left paw that she learned to work as effectively as a Dickens child with a tin cup. We called her "The Little Match Girl" sometimes, because she'd run flat-out on it when she damn well wanted to, then fall back onto her haunches, lift it, and make it tremble pitiably when she didn't want to do something. Like, say, go home from the park. Or when she wanted to be carried, just because she was a little princess that way.
She was small, and she was fierce, and she was a bundle of nearly-pure love, one who always wanted to be on our laps or trying to boot us out of the bed. And she left us at 10:42 PM on this night, now six years gone. Like Lilith, she developed tumors. In her case, by the time they were evident, it was already far too late. I brought her home from the vet and we made her comfortable and she had another three or four days, max. That last evening, she wanted to go out, but she was too weak to walk on her own, so I carried her around to her favorite places on the land, including the space under the deck, at that point no longer attached to a house. It was only months after the house was pulled out from under us. She left us in my arms and on my lap, as I sat cross-legged on the cold kitchen floor and held her and wept. At the appointed time tonight, even though it will be late, I'll take her cedar and tobacco.
She was the first one laid to rest where her siblings are. This has been a hard week, with extra visits for anniversaries: Lilith four days ago, Dommy tonight, Griffin coming up on Sunday. They were my sole family for so long, and they were everything to me. To Wings, too, and this one wormed her way deep into his heart, learning how to ride on the back of the ATV with him (at a sedate pace, of course). That charmed him so completely that he still brings it up to this day. That night, I half-dreamed her walking toward the spirit world, picking her way gingerly, allowing for her little limp, through and around desert scrub beneath a bright blue sky. The morning just after, in our way, one's spirit arrives, we awakened to something that almost never happens here: an early morning storm, the raindrops as loud and resonant on the tin roof as any powwow drum, the wind howling so loud and long through the gap-riddled windows and door and seams of this thing that it sounded for all the world like our singers. I turned to Wings and said, "They're singing and dancing for her, welcoming her home."
There will be no rain tonight, and probably no wind, but once in a great while, her spirit still visits in dreams. In them, she's entirely healthy and always a little black and white bundle of pure happiness. And I'll weep more of the tears I've been shedding all week, as I will for two more days at least, and yet, what I see now is her from one of the dreams: circling around and around at top speed to lie down in a comfortable spot, multicolored eyes bright and with that grin on her face that, in a dog, is joy in its purest form. As mind's-eye images go, it's hard to get much better than that.
We love you, Dom.
All content, including photos and text, are copyright Wings and Aji, 2017; all rights reserved. Nothing herein may used or reproduced in any form without the express written permission of the owner.