I'm writing this post on Diva's last night. We're hanging out (I'm having vodka) and talking about our life together.
We're listening to this:
I was pregnant with Hannah, my daughter who I gave for adoption in 1998 (see earlier post) and I found her on petfinder. It was love at first Internet Profile sight. She was at PAWS. They swore up and down I didn't want such a wild and untrained dog (she wasn't potty trained and had some pretty crazy personality issues), but I did. I had met my soul mate.
we moved to los angeles
Yeah! We got in a cargo van less than two weeks after we met and moved to LA, her peeing in the van the whole trip. It was a mess. I was in love. God, she was a mess. I was a mess. We were a fucking mess.
I read a million dog training books (ok, like eight) about ethical dog training to see if I could somehow harness the unharnessable spirit that was Diva. I didn't want to, though. I just wanted her to stop peeing in the house, but to still be herself. I was inspired by my friend, Tyler, who talked to his dog like a friend, an equal. We became a dumb and happy mess.
our life started
Yeah! It was awesome! I taught her to play with squeak toys (previously, she had been neglected in a backyard apparently never having seen a squeak) by applauding her when she squeaked a toy. It was impossible to stop her after that. Anything that squeaked, she fetched, tormented, worried, and molested. She just wanted to thrill me and when she found the first cheer in a squeak, she was hooked. Every time a squeak was available, she was a sucker for it (this later became helpful when she discovered escaping... I just had to step out to the front yard and squeak something and she'd come from wherever to come back and play with the Holy Squeak).
I dyed her purple in Seattle. Look at that dog! Purple and blue! Like a crazy easter egg! And she loved it! Everywhere she went, she was beloved. Kids wanted to pet her, adults doted, and boy, was she ever a good sport. She looks photoshopped, doesn't she? Yeah, that's 'cause she's fucking amazing!
Look at her tail. It's all up and enthusiastic. Now, this is not the case. Her tail is tucked under, trying to hold in everything. She can't help it. She's always been an up-tail dog, and now she isn't.
She just isn't. Fuck.
That was when I was at UW and living close to school. We used to go down to the wildlife preserve and I'd let her go chase the preserved geese. She has chased a thousand geese. Hey, they're Canadians! And they were hiring dogs to go chase them anyways, since they were freaking out the local ducks. She was an ecological blessing, really, when you look at it that way.
After UW, I decided we should sell everything and travel the US on an indefinite road trip... in my Jetta. Yeah, seriously, we packed everything into a Jetta and road-tripped around for months! She and I slept in the back of that car... I left her at a kennel in Tahoe (fancy!) while I went to Burning Man and I picked her up after and went to San Francisco and then to LA and then to the Grand Canyon and then to Texas and to Louisiana... it was on that trip that we met Gigsville at their Decompression, a meeting that would change our lives. We saw the first tarantula I've seen in the wild. She attacked Jenna's dog, who later got gray marks where Diva had bitten him.
That was Diva's dark side... anyone who has known her knows that she is a violent dog, but only towards other quadrapeds. She loved humans, but other dogs were enemies.
In Sedona, we were at this crazy bar called the Laughing Coyote all night. She loved these cats and they loved her. We stayed in the driveway of one of the people we met there, curled up like Yin and Yang in the back of my Jetta. We spent all our nights camping like that all across the US.
We peeked over the edge of the Grand Canyon because they don't allow dogs there, but I still remember staying in that campground and her wandering around the car anxiously. In those days, we were much more anxious. Both of us.
We went on through Texas in a long haul. It took us two days to cross Texas. That's a wide state. When we got to Louisiana, we stopped at the first gas station that had poor boys. They were gross, but Diva ate hers. I couldn't finish mine. At that gas station in the swamp, we were walking around and she started doing this adorable, weird jazz dance.
It took me a little while to realize that her legs were covered in fire ants. It took me a lot less time to kill them all. They were curled into little balls with the fiercety of their bites and I wiped them all off... she had welts, but her jazz dance was still pretty funny.
In New Orleans, she took off after some ducks not realizing they were swimming in an infinity fountain. Boy, was she embarassed. I had to hop into the fountain to pull her out. She thought it was pretty funny, all things considered.
The Jetta smelled awful after that.
We had a bunch of adventures. Too many to recount! And that was only the first couple years after we met!
It only got better, really, as I became an adult. We were able to have bigger and more awesome adventures, even. We went to Joshua Tree often. Boy, she loved it. Just look at that face! (better if you click on it to see the full glory of her smile)
Now THAT is a dog enjoying herself!
I was having a great time as well. Because, with a dog like that, how could you not have a good time?
But here we are... and she is disabled. She can't run at all. Heck, she can barely walk. I have to pick her up out of her own urine. I have to regard this as an act of love and not one of sacrafice. Sacrafice leads to resentment and I can't even go down that path, not after all that she has given me.
She has taught me the importance of not taking anything too seriously. Of having a short memory for the shitty things and a long memory for the good things. Of remembering the squirrel chase over the previous owner who hit you. Of knowing that in five minutes, things will roll off you if you let them.
She has given me more than I could ever give her back. I have given her the best life she could have in fifteen years, but she has given me a life of lessons. I have always had someone to come home to.
When I come back Sunday, there will be no one here. It will be an empty house, with just pictures and songs to remind me of her. And the lessons of amazingness. And her spirit. These things I will always keep.
And our memories.
And now we're listening to this:
A road trip with Diva from Oakland through Carizzo Plains and surrounding areas.
Her trying on the first Quaker wrestling bonnet for the Quaker Oatmeal Wrestling.
Carrizo Plains, CA
Without Arno, but still loving rolling in Albuquerque.
Happy and surveying on a camping trip.
In a creepy abandoned campground outside of Lake Hughes, CA
Best Team Ever. At 4th of Juplaya in Black Rock Desert, NV
Living in Tujunga with Hutch, we got to chase a lot of ducks.
Just a cowgirl and her dog. Forever.
Like I said, just a cowgirl and her dog. Forever.
Thank you, Diva. I love you.