The Solace of Dogs and Decembers

The Solace of Dogs and Decembers

She stares up at me with auburn eyes, alert and ready for any movement.

Walking with Charlie, our two-year old adopted greyhound, brings time for reflection, especially on the cusp of a new year.

Nine years ago on New Year’s Eve my son entered a far-away treatment center.  I faced that midnight frantic with fear for him – and me.  How had we gotten here?

Jacob was eight when we adopted our first greyhounds.  Two former racers became the fourth and fifth members of our small household.  A cherished family photo frames Jacob on a lush, green field, sphinxlike, mimicking the dogs who pose on either side of him, a portrait of serenity

Long before addiction took hold, my son knew what it was like to drop to his knees and give himself over to the love of an animal.

But during the worst years, when addiction held him fast, Jacob would brush past the dogs as they lounged on the rug and gazed up at him.

He would brush past all of us then, on retreat from the back door, up the stairs and into the secrecy of his room.

When secrecy enshrouded our home – before I found human help – I found solace with the hounds.  My husband at work and my son who knows where, I would sink to the floor and hug them.  They never budged, even when their thin, downy necks grew wet with tears.

In that long ago December, when Jacob left home for recovery in south Florida, he paused in solemn farewell to the dogs – a silent goodbye to the life he had known and to his childhood.

How could I know then that his move to Florida would be a turning point in his life, let alone in mine?   Letting him go was how I found him again.

This month, in this new year, my son will celebrate nine years in recovery.  He has his own home now, someone he loves and who loves him…

…and his own new pup for solace, reflection, and hope in the New Year.



4 Replies to “The Solace of Dogs and Decembers”

  1. Oh, Lisa, this is the most heartfelt, emotionally moving, beautiful and stirring blog I’ve ever read. Having known you since we were little kids ourselves, this is especially sentimental to me to feel deep in my heart the many years of anguish everyone had to experience. What a miraculous, joyful reflection you’ve painted. Life is good. I love you.

    1. No. Crying is so healthy. And having the dogs to absorb that, healthy too.
      Don’t forget.
      Dog spelled backwards….

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