“I’ve always bonded with animals,” I say to Har as we enjoy some wine on the rooftop, “especially dogs.”
“Really? That’s adorable,” he replies. “We should get you a dog then.”
And that, my friends, is me and Harlow’s relationship in a nutshell. We’re both as delusional as it gets and perfectly fine with it.
Every once in a while I see myself as others do, more specifically the others who live in our building and share our parking lot. I am the crazy dog lady who doesn’t just take my dog with me on every car ride, I’m also always talking to him. And not just commands, but conversations. Things like, “No going after the cats today. We’ve talked about this. No, I’m serious this time. Do not argue with me.” Or, “What are you feeling for lunch? Potbelly? We just had that. It does sound good though, you’re right.” And then I look up and I see the woman who hates me sitting on her balcony glaring at us and shaking her head.
“What’s her problem?” Har asks as he snarls her way.
“She thinks you use the communal yard,” I snarl too.
“Oh please, that rat yard? We don’t step foot in there,” he says.
And it’s true! We don’t. But she likes to blame everything on Har and I.
“She’s crazy,” I say.
“You got that right,” Har agrees. “Some people just need to get a life.” Then we trot inside together, happy and content that he and I most definitely have a life.
Today is his 9th birthday. Don’t let his sugar face fool you, he’s still got the energy of a four year old. He still demands 4-6 walks per day, at least 2-3 visits to the park, and a trip to Target at least every other day. He runs a tight ship around here, but that’s what I need. He keeps me on task.
Once upon a time I worked an 8-5 job downtown in a cubicle and had never been more miserable in my life. It wasn’t a terrible job (okay it kinda was) but what I actually hated the most was leaving Har. We hired dog walkers we couldn’t afford (because we were new to Chicago and very broke) and I rushed home as fast as I could once the clock hit 5:00, but still, it wasn’t the life I had promised him.
I sent him back to Nebraska a lot when we first moved here because it killed me to crate him for nine hours a day. I missed him like hell, but I knew he was better off with Chris’s parents having a yard and land where he could run his little one-year-old heart out. All the while I would write in my dream journal, “I WILL FIND A WAY TO WORK FROM HOME AND BE WITH HAR,” over and over like a maniac. It was all I could focus on.
Luckily it wouldn’t be long until I got fired from that job I hated. Can you imagine me making sales calls? I once pronounced Geoff like “Gee-Off,” because I panicked (because I always panicked when an actual person picked up.) And then I was expected to sell something?! Lol. But that’s a post for a different time.
Anyway, no one wants a long story for a Friday so I’ll keep this short and sweet. I know that people think I’m over the top with Har, and I am. (And I even tone down what I share. I’m just as crazy as you think and then some.) But here’s the thing, I would hate to look back someday and wish I had taken him on more walks, or cuddled him longer on the couch, or just enjoyed having him by my side. He brings me so much joy, how could I not try to do the same for him?
I know that whenever our time is up it will never have been enough, but at least I’ll know I did everything I could to make sure he felt happy and loved every single day. And spoiled. So damn spoiled.
Happy bday, sweet Harlow Wentworth Jimmer Hillis Wolfe.
And Charbies. Chompers. Harby. Harls Barkley. Midnight Harlow Show.