My people call me a doggie vacuum cleaner. It’s no joke. I suck up anything and everything that hits the ground in my forever home, at grandma’s house, or wherever I am welcome. I’ve also been known to scavenge couches, loveseats and recliners for any leftovers that may not have hit the floor. Don’t get me wrong, my parents and (most) other loved ones are not in the habit of giving me any people food. Its a habit I picked up all on my own, likely a result of living on the streets and sharing food in the humane society.
Well, this little habit of mine bit me in the proverbial behind yesterday when I got a taste of something terrible. It smelled like heavenly caramel, but believe you me, it didn’t taste a thing like caramel. It was heavenly caramel flavored coffee grinds, but it was one of the most bitter things I’ve ever tasted. And oh dog, was I hyper after a couple licks of the stuff.
Not that long after my run-in with caffeinated torture, I found relief in my annual birthday treat: a single-scoop vanilla ice cream cone. I don’t care to bring too much attention to my special day of birth as one people year older is equivalent to approximately seven dog years. But my people always make a little deal out of it, and I can’t say I mind the extra attention.
Yesterday, after the sweetness of the ice cream melted away the bitterness of the (not-so-heavenly) coffee grounds, mom and dad presented me with a new fluffy blankie. “Because you like mine so much,” mom said. (Silly mom-she doesn’t realize the reason I love her fluffy blue blanket is because it smells like her.)
But this blanket was all mine, I realized, with a slight sense of pride. I closed my eyes in bliss, and it happened. I saw myself as a little puppy cuddling with my two puppy brothers into our birth mom in a blanket that looked the slightest bit like my new blanket. There we were, the four of us, all cuddled together to stay warm in a beaten up version of my new gift. What I realized in that bittersweet moment of nostalgia is again, the blanket was made special not by its warmth, but by its meaning. Who knows what my mom had to do to even find us a blanket big enough to share?
“In this bright future you can’t forget your past,” Jamaican singer-songwriter Bob Marley once said. It was a bittersweet moment to relive with my mom and brothers, but I’m glad it happened. It reminded me why I’ve become the doggie vacuum cleaner, and brought to life a special appreciation for my birthday present. My bittersweet memories today reminded me its because it reminds me of my birth mom and forever mom, not because it’s all mine, that I love my new blanket. Indeed it isn’t actually mine at all. What it represents is so much bigger to me, regardless of how silly that may sound. It brings together the past and the present into a fabulously promising future.