It’s no secret in our house that for Pot Roast, my husband Joe is “where it’s at.” I’m chopped liver, if you will, whenever Joe is in the house, unless, of course, someone needs to be fed or snuggled. If this is the case, my round lap wins out over Joe’s stringy muscles every single time.
Joe has been deployed for the last seven months with the Canadian Armed Forces, and Roast is none too pleased about this development. He does a lot of loafing around near Joe’s side of the bed, sad and wide-eyed, like just laying there might bring him back. He brings me toys to play then despondently walks away when he realizes I am not, nor can I ever be, his beloved game buddy.
Try, for a moment, to imagine Roast’s excitement when he and Joe were reunited this Christmas. It was nothing short of spectacular.
We share a bond with all of our pets, but Pot Roast has spent so much time at Amherst Vet Hospital with various health problems that he definitely exists in our minds as our child because we’ve worked so darn hard just to keep him alive! Of course, there’s no explaining to a dog that his family member is away, but don’t worry, he’ll be back! Roast lives in the here and now, and our “now” involves no Joe. And let me tell you, he doesn’t like this new development one bit.
When I packed up the car to head to the airport, Roast was none the wiser. We toodled along on the highway and when we pulled into Arrivals, Joe was waiting on the street corner in a bright toque but I couldn’t see him in the dark. I peered through the windshield as he waved wildly and I only pulled over when the dog went bezerk in the back seat. Roast definitely saw Dad before I did.
I hopped out of the car to give Joe a hug, cry a little, and have a special moment before we opened the door to Pot Roast.
There were cries.
There were face licks.
There were endless, endless tail wags.
There was a whole lotta love.
With the family reunited in the car on the way home, Pot Roast leaned forward to rest his gigantic head on Joe’s shoulder and promptly fell asleep. Never have our lives felt so fulfilled as they did for those two weeks over the holidays.
Two weeks later, Joe had to return overseas for the last half of his deployment. Again, Pot Roast is sad, and part of it is because he senses that I’m also struggling with all the time apart. I can’t explain it to him, but in five more months, we’ll drive to the airport again and welcome Joe back into our lives. And on that first night of Tug-O-War, we’ll welcome the feeling of family, finally complete.