|Jenny the Wonder greyhound with Mr. Luv-Lyte, the Intrepid Maltese.|
2016 was a ridiculously difficult year, in a ridiculously difficult world, for a ridiculously immense number of reasons.
And it's just this kind of absurdity that makes the care and companionship of the animal family to whom I return home every day that much more precious.
That much more essential.
It's the precious refuge of the daily care I am lucky enough to be able to offer to my animals that makes the world inside the tall fence around my yard rational, sensible, and infinitely good. It's all the more that refuge when I get to know at the end of each day that each of the individuals who will live out their lives in this sanctuary are safe, comfortable, warm, fed, and as happy as I can figure out.
Jenny came home with Kevin and I in June 2013.
She was the last dog to hobble off a transport van where she had stood on the three legs that she could still use for several hours.
She was tired, confused, and frightened. Not because the rescue folks hadn't done everything they could to make her trip comfortable--but because being a three-legged Greyhound just is no easy thing. Especially when you're old and have lived the unconscionably cruel life of the racing dog.
The racing dog whose track-broken leg wasn't worth setting because she'd not win anymore--even if a broken-legged dog could still be used as a puppy mill.
Like its abominable analogue in horse-racing, Greyhound racing should be banned, its promoters shamed into ignominy, its tracks closed and bull-dozed to the ground.
But none of this deterred my baby from wagging her tail as Kevin and I settled her into the backseat of my little Honda to take her home.
To take her home for her forever.
She was absolutely beautiful.
Jenny came home to a world of doggy beds and bones, arthritis-prevention supplements and dental treats.
She loved throwing around her beds, her bones.
She could run.
She chased squirrels with Disney.
She lounged in front of the nightly news with me.
She barked--but rarely.
More often, she peered out of big dark brown eyes, out of her quiet demeanor, with that bottomless love reserved for dogs.
And for greyhounds--the kitty-doggies of the doggy world.
The week before New Year's eve, she began to limp on her left front leg.
A bump? A sprain?
Cancer. Fucking cancer. Fucking Goddamn Robber cancer.
The thing that only gets worse. The thing that eats away the bone. The thing that a three-legged dog cannot brook in her leg.
I held her whole anxious body in my lap on the floor of the veterinary hospital.
I sang to her, "You are my Jenny-Pants, and I love you with all my heart."
She quieted, and I kissed her forehead.
The feeling of life drifting away to silence. It makes you hold on so tight you can hardly breathe.
In the Spring Kevin and I will bury Jenny's ashes under my giant Cyprus tree along with Disney, the Squirrel-Chaser.
Jenny had big brown eyes. To gaze into them was to see that at the center of the universe was still love.
Good night my precious Jenny-Pants.
I love you, my quiet girl.
Wendy Lynne Lee