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Sometimes I really wonder how dogs live their lives. Are they as aware as we are? Do they have a sense of love and loss?

What happened to Panchita when mom died? Did she notice she wasn’t feeling well those two days before she went to the hospital? Thursday morning strangers came into her house and took mom, her mommy too, away and she never came back. All day long she was alone, dad only coming home late at night - crying and alone. The next day he left, early in the morning, and she gathered all of her toys from all over the house and nested with them on the couch.

What in her little doggie brain was going on? Did she know her momma was never coming home, did she know that she’d lose her house and move out into the desert, and that her daddy would be alone? It must have been confusing; the only nights mom had never been home was twice when she visited me in Oregon, beyond that she had always been in bed when Panchita was.

I find myself thinking about this a lot and I don’t know why. Sometimes Fezzik the cat will crawl on me in bed and perch on my hip like Panchita use to do and I find myself really missing her. Yes, she was bat-shit crazy when other people were around, but when it was just me and her (or us over with my folks) she was MY girl, a shadow that followed me around. She was someone who was always there, a little white mini me with socialization issues.

I have people in my life who have dogs, so I get plenty of puppy time, but they’re not MY dog. I know Panchita hasn’t forgotten who I am; I wonder if she still expects mom to come home one day. Does she know the jar on the stereo is mom’s ashes, does it have a smell she can sense, or does she just think it’s someone odd that dad talks to? Does she wonder where the momma is, or does she think mom abandoned her and left the way I did?


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