two years at home with lula
Lula has been part of our family for two years and continues to surprise me with how she expresses her doggy-ness, ever expanding her comfort zone, always more fully becoming herself. We could all hope for such a confident experience as we mature.
release from quarantine
We are still in Phase 1 of a 4-phase de-escalation process from total confinement during the coronavirus high point. You may have heard, it was bad in Spain.
In general, Lula was fine during the confinement.
Dog-walkers were allowed out as necessary, but we were told to stay within 250 meters of home, to see to the dog’s toilet business and go home. At first she was bewildered by the change of route, the shorter outing and the prohibition of greeting other dogs. Sometimes we went further afield but always on the leash, which is different for her. She is used to some off-leash time each day. Wandering at her pace and following her nose in the park. But the park — the Turia Gardens, all 9 kilometers of it — was closed to the public.
Just like when she showed up at our door two years ago, Lula was a source of joy during the confinement. She was our excuse to get out of the house every day and was another being to share the two months when other physical relationship time was restricted. She was a source a hugs, companionship, play and silliness.
About 3 weeks ago the quarantine was relaxed and parents and kids were allowed out, the parks re-opened and soon after all age groups were assigned blocks of time for individual exercise.
So we are back to a more familiar routine and route. And Lula is thrilled, I could see it. The first week after the park re-opened, Lula walked with an extra spring to her step when she realized where we were going.
In social terms with other dogs, Lula has an ever-evolving personality and it surprises me how social she can be. It is just as all those people said two years ago, in a year she was a different dog, and she continues to be.
Whereas two years ago she hardly ever expressed interest in any dog, now she easily seeks out a dog to greet, and usually that’s all it is. Most dog interaction is simply greeting one another with a sniff and then it’s good-byesville. But sometimes she invites to play and sometimes too she accepts an invitation to play. She likes to do the asking though. She is socially awkward. That dog that wants to join in fun the dog-gang is having but doesn’t know how to insert herself. And she attracts human attention. She’s cute and people respond positively to her, and she to them.
on her own again …
Recently we have left her on her own again after the “whole family” being together non-stop during the confinement. We worried that she would be a nervous wreck and we had worked hard with her to accept being left on her own. And she has been fine. We have monitored her and she didn’t bark or have any fits. The recordings were mostly quiet.
Lula is a fixture in our lives and I am lucky to have her in my life. What a gift another’s life can be, eh? Next month she will be 9 years old and she is fine and fit, but like during Oscar’s life, I sometimes catch myself holding my heart and thinking about her death someday.
Death is something that just has been in the air recently. And is part of the life cycle, so I think about it as a fact of life and also with the sad gratitude and love for lives well lived, shared and now departed.
The last few months have been heavy, were they for you too? This larger context of not knowing and everything changing. And lists. Numbers. Infection rates. Deaths. Test kits. Pandemia. Confinement. Shortages. Warnings. Flatten the curve. It was and is all very surreal. How much easier a dog’s life must be. Their primary thoughts I imagine are: Am I going out? What are they eating? Maybe I should take a nap.
Restrictions are loosening here now, but the rhythm and beat of life is still slow.
And Lula is just fine with that because in her world (when, where and for how long she walks) almost everything has returned to “normal” and to boot things aren’t as busy as they used to be. I am observing a dog with abundant renewed social energy after a stretch of isolation. I don’t know how she’ll change, but soon I expect to see other sides to her personality.
Woof love forever, Lula. Two years in our family and almost nine years old. I am so glad she is in my life.
For more about how dogs make our lives richer, see this book and/or interview.
The Dharma of Dogs: Our Best Friends as Spiritual Teachers, an interview with the editor, Tami Simon.