Monday, May 11, 2009


I know that this is a place for reviewing the books I've read. I've actually got a finished review to post, and I've finished off another book that needs a review of its own. I'm halfway through yet another, too. I'll get on that soon. I just...

Losing Shika hit me so much harder than I ever would have expected. I needed somewhere to put down my thoughts, and even though I know it isn't healthy, I've come back several times just to look at some of my favorite pictures of her. I really ought to be asleep right now, since tomorrow is an early morning, but I have a little more to get out.

I never admitted while she was alive that Shika was my dog. She was a foundling, and Itzl's best friend. She was sort of a family dog, and when I moved away, she was going to stay behind, so she couldn't be mine. But she followed me to bed most nights. Sometimes I'd toss her in before I'd crawl in myself, and sometimes I'd get in and then lean down and help her up. Rarely, she'd find a way up by herself, and she'd be so proud. She'd scramble up to me, crawling on her belly, and she'd pound her paws and lick me so quick and just look so completely, thoroughly pleased with herself.

She greeted me every day when I got home from work. Most days, my mom would open the door, and both dogs would rush out to meet me. Itzl would often hop right into the car, but Shika would stand up with her little feet on the side, wagging her tail, and I'd reach down and pet her, and she'd half-close her eyes and look completely happy with the world.

She was my dog, and I'm so, so sorry I never admitted it while she was around to know about it. Then again, I guess she made that decision for me. She knew, and I loved her so much, even if I didn't say she was mine.

She wasn't perfect at all. She wasn't well housebroken. She peed on my bed more times than I recall. I have a foam mattress pad on it not for comfort, but because the pad doesn't absorb liquids. She'd pee on the bed, and I'd be able to strip off the sheet and treat it with enzyme cleaner before washing it, and I could mop up the mess and clean the pad, whereas my mattress just would have gotten nasty. Twice she peed on my pillow, and I had to throw it away and buy a new one. She was serious hell on the carpets around here.

I'm not going to miss that part, but it was a small price to pay for everything else.

Whoever had her before us taught her very firmly that dogs were not allowed on the furniture. We immediately started teaching her bad habits, and she finally knew that dogs weren't just allowed on the furniture, it was pretty much their God-given right to be on it when they wanted, and to take possession of any laps they found.

And oh, did Shika love laps.

She adored and lavished in whatever attention she could get, and she'd charge into a lap as soon as she noticed it. Even if she was already in a different lap. There were lots of times where she'd be sitting on me or on my mother, and whoever didn't have her would talk, and she'd suddenly realize there was an unoccupied lap and dive for it.

One time, my best friend was visiting. We were watching the Dark Knight, actually. She and I were snuggled up on the couch, and Shika came over and managed to go to sleep sprawled over both of our laps. I think that was her idea of heaven.

No matter what was happening, she was excited. Especially if I'd ask her, "Are you excited?" Say it in a high-pitched, breathless voice, and she'd start dancing.

Sometimes, she'd get really excited while she was sleeping and start barking. She wouldn't open her mouth, though, and her cheeks would puff out in perfect circles.

At night, when we got into bed, sometimes she'd crawl under my blanket by my feet, but sometimes, she'd come up to the head of the bed, and I'd have to hold the blanket up by my shoulder. She'd crawl in from there, and find a good spot right against my side to settle down. She was so small that she'd curl up and I could rest my hand on her back, and it would cover almost her whole back.

I thought I'd be doing better by today, but I kept tearing up at work. I'd flash on her horrible, horrible death--so much blood, I didn't think there could be so much from such a tiny body. I never thought it would be so thick. Who knew the karo syrup in horror movies was so accurate looking? It's never as bright, though. There's a stain on the pavement outside of the house, and after some painful thought, I decided to wash and keep the nightgown she bled all over, because that same gown is in some of those pictures of her I love so much. I'm not sure yet if I'm glad or sorry that all the stains came out so easy. I teared up realizing that she wouldn't greet me when I came home from work. Teared up again remembering that she wasn't there to watch me go when I left.

I really thought I was doing better when I climbed into bed, stretched out over the blanket. There was a big fold under my legs, and I swear to God, it felt like it twitched just like it would when Shika was under there sleeping and I'd squished her, and now I'm crying again.

Her greatest fear, as near as we could tell, was that we were going to give her away. If we took her anywhere with too many strangers, she'd cling so tightly to either of us that would hold her. She liked to visit my grandparents, though, and my dad sat her a few times, and she liked his house, too. She's go with me to visit friends occasionally, too.

Once, I took her to my grandparents for Christmas. It's about a hundred mile trip. There's a town midway between where they live and where I do that's got a huge Christmas light display, and I'd been chatting with someone online about possibly meeting in person and dating. She and I decided to meet for the light show--it was free, we both wanted to see it, and it was nice and public. So we decided to meet when I was on my way home from visiting the grandparents.

Shika was terrified when I stopped in a strange town, and parked in a strange place. Worse, a strange woman drove up, and I GOT IN HER CAR! She didn't want to walk on her leash at all. She desperately wanted me to carry her, and she dug all of her little toes into my arm as hard as she could, clinging with all her might so I wouldn't let her go.

I didn't. She got to come home. And now she'd buried by the rose bush, and she'll never, ever have to leave.

I'm still not very ok. I know I will be, but I miss her so bad. She's left a hole in my life much bigger than such a small creature should be able to make.

It'll be business as usual around here soon, I promise.

I just wanted to remember a little more of the good, a little more of the bad, and just purge a little bit before I could accidentally poison myself.

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