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The Suburbanite
  • Jim Hillibish: For dogs, time is meaningless

  • My laundry bag would arrive, and Shiloh, our beagle puppy, would go nuts. He finally sat on it, guarding it, and nobody could come near.

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  • When I was in the Army, my mom insisted I send home clothes for her to wash. I thought it was a little crazy, but she just couldn’t let go. Must humor Mom.
    My laundry bag would arrive, and Shiloh, our beagle puppy, would go nuts. He finally sat on it, guarding it, and nobody could come near.
    I’d arrive home on leave and Shi nearly tore down the front door to welcome me. He had a combination bay and cry that he reserved for me.
    Shi then would spend all of my leave no more than six inches away from me, preferably in my lap. He seemed to know the reunion was temporary. It was hard to leave him, but when I did, the feelings were mutual. He’d climb on my bed pillow upstairs and whine.
    When I called home, he knew my voice. He’d yelp and dance as my mom talked to me.
    “I’m still here for you Jim, nothing’s changed.” That was my translation.
    I came home for good and after a few days, Shi made sure I didn’t leave. He tore up my Army laundry bag.
    When it comes to remembering us, dogs have no calendars. Days, weeks, months do not exist. We are permanently etched in their brains and they in ours.
    I might add minutes and seconds with our mini dachshund, Lily. She’s a rescue dog. She knows the feeling of not being loved. She spends her life with us making sure that never happens again.
    I wish you could see the reception I get when I come home from work. Kay, my neighbor, can’t believe it. Lil runs all around the garage with me in the center, then out on the drive, then finally winding up in my arms.
    If it’s raining, this all happens in the house, which is always interesting on carpet.
    I’m amazed by her, but I soon discovered something odd. If I am outside for more than five minutes, I get the same reception. Love knows no time here.
    When my wife is away on business trips, Lily could spend hours pining for her on the driveway, hoping every passing car is her return. When Leen packs her luggage, Lily looks like she is ill.
    When we left the house, Lily used to cry while we were gone. That’s now stopped with her confidence we will return.
     Before we leave, I look her in the eyes and say, “We’ll be back soon. I promise.” She knows what that means and accepts it, but she still pleads to go along.
    When people ask us why we have a dog, the answer is easy. There’s always someone at the door happy to see us, no questions asked. We leave our work on the patio when we go inside. Then there’s the constant reaffirmation: Lily climbs on my chest, brushes my paper aside with her nose and looks me in the eyes.
    Page 2 of 2 - “It’s you and me,” those eyes say. “We’re a pair.”