It feels really indulgent to write about Jake again, about a year after he died, but next Wednesday it will have been an actual year and I think about Jake a lot and I miss him often and it still feels like he'll come sauntering around the corner to say hello any moment.
Of course, he won't be doing that.
I have yet to read Dog Heaven all the way through (I am sorry Natalie, but it just makes me BAWL by page three.) I have been meaning to change the URL of this website but I'm dragging my feet. Claire occasionally talks about Jake, telling strangers, "We have a dog! His name is Jake!" Or other times, "When is Jake coming home? I want him to come back to our house."
I feel the same way I did last October, when I wanted not another dog, I wanted JAKE. And I've come around to the idea of maaaaaaaybe getting another dog, a Not-Jake, but with two young kids and our travel schedule it seems poorly timed. Certainly a puppy is not in the cards (we have enough needy creatures to take care of) but an older, rescued, dog seems appealing, in theory.
But then I think about an older dog and I think about saying goodbye again in five (or fewer) short years and that idea seems unappealing too.
So, we're in a kind of holding pattern on another pet. His nose smudges are still on the back window of my car. His little door to the back yard is still here. His bowls are in a cabinet in the laundry room. I sometimes see those things and it's almost like he's a lost pet, a runaway, and we're holding onto these things just in case he comes home, after all this time.
I think that's the part I wasn't expecting: the still missing him a year later and getting sad when I drive past the vet (at least twice a day) and always, always thinking about wanting him and not just another dog.
Because he wasn't just another dog, you know?
Oh, buddy. I sure wish you could come home.