He says he’s bored with his food. He wants salmon. He also tells me that he is your friend, ”said the animal communicator and gently touched my dog’s hips.
My Wheaten Terrier, Lincoln, and I sat at a table on the patio of a coffee shop that was holding a fair to raise money for a cat rescue. For $ 20 I got 15 minutes of insight.
“Tell him he’s turned his nose at salmon too many times for me to offer it,” I said.
She kept looking at me and waiting for me to confirm my dog’s explanation of our relationship status. “As for my boyfriend …” I laughed awkwardly and made an “eeesh” face as you tilt your head back and show your clenched teeth – like a horse racing against a mountain lion. It felt oddly inappropriate to agree with him.
Fortunately, I had already asked my questions about his meal, his day care situation, his walking schedule, and his general happiness. I let my phone’s voice memo app capture the rest of Lincoln’s thoughts, including his inability to understand cats, while wondering why it was so bad when my dog thought he was my friend.
For starters, I’m a commitment phobe so it seemed like a predictable response. But since we spend almost every minute of every day together, the task ship may have sailed five years ago when he chose me as his guardian. Yes, he picked me by jumping into my lap, putting his puppy paws around my neck and smiling when I silently panicked and whispered, “Slow down your roll, dude!”
On another level, I refer to myself as “Mom” for him, as in “Do you want to come to the café with Mom?” As his primary caregiver, bather, feeder and poop picker superior, I exercised my maternal instincts on him and kept him alive far better than all the expired plants that are now on the great compost heap in the sky. He’s pure and sweet like a toddler and I love him like he’s my child. The word “friend” conjures up images of passion, struggle, food and compromise – not the sweet innocent love I feel for Lincoln.
Although I am an extremely independent single woman, I still have visions of a handsome soulmate who completely understands me on a deep level and convinces me to spend the rest of my life with him. We will challenge each other to be our best selves while often evoking the worst in one another. Did I also mention that there would be a lot of sex? In my eyes he’s a bit hairy, definitely stands on two legs, is probably human, and doesn’t secretly try to eat trash.
When I take species and sex out of the mix, Lincoln understands me better than most people. His emotional intelligence is remarkable, and he has a knack for pulling me in the direction of people I need to meet. He’s a protector who transforms into a hellhound if anyone comes within five feet of me. He rushes to me before a single tear breaks out of a canal. He sleeps next to me and lays his head on the pillow while stretching out like a person.
He is my adventure partner who is always ready to discover something new, with as much calamity and joy in his eyes as in my own. Most importantly, he loves me when I’m at my worst, when we disagree, and when he doesn’t get his way. Perhaps because I haven’t always experienced this unconditional love, it has given me a permanence that feels new.
Recently, Lincoln woke up in the middle of the night and had trouble walking. He stumbled around like he was drunk, which panicked me and took him to the emergency room at four in the morning. Despite a thorough examination and a follow-up visit to our vet, the cause was unclear. he “may have leaked a neurotoxin,” I was told.
I was instructed to watch him and if another episode occurred, take him to a neurologist. It sounded scary, and when I paired it with two separate veterinary “Eesh” faces it was all I could do to hold back a Category 5 hurricane of tears. The thought of losing my best friend / son of a dog was more than my brain could handle.
While I sat over him like a stalker in a 1990s thriller and watched him sleep, I cursed the animal communicator for not seeing a major problem. Then I did what I had to do, which was to comfort and care for him. After weeks of being suffocated by attention, enduring the burning of a special welfare candle, and just licking his food and me, he’s back to his mischievous self. I am grateful that he seems to have passed everything that caused his crisis. I now see our relationship with fresh eyes.
Yes, I am his mother, adventure partner, constant companion and best friend. He is better than the fantasy I have of my boyfriend / husband / soul mate because he loves me for who I am all the time. There aren’t many limits in a dog-human relationship, and it is more than okay for a dog to fill many chambers of your heart.
I told Lincoln that I upgraded him from boyfriend to life partner. He gave me his megawatt smile, although I was pretty sure he didn’t know what the words “life partner” meant. One day he will reluctantly make room for a humble human friend, provided, of course, that friend gives him treats (always greasing the paw).
And in nothing short of a miracle, with the addition of salmon to his meal, he’s finally back to devouring every meal. Cheers to the animal communicators!