About this time last year, we said goodbye to Lou.
We have adjusted to Life Without Lou, but sometimes it’s a little too quiet. Jazz has always had a co-conspirator, and she misses being part of a larger pack. We knew we wanted to get another dog at some point, and after parking the last child at college this August, it seemed time to consider taking on at least a foster dog, knowing that we have a dismal history of foster failure (you know, where “just two weeks” turns into 8-12 years).
I have two friends who are heavily involved in rescuing dogs–one who works with Project Safe Pet and the other with Humane Society of York County. I knew that the second I told them our requirements (cat friendly, dog friendly, likes to take walks), the options would be limitless, and I was right. Within about a day, we had several amazing options, all of whom needed at least a temporary safe and loving place to stay as they transitioned from a difficult past to the perfect forever home.
But these eyes caught my attention.
It was clear we were headed for failure the first night when, after approximately three minutes of hearing the puppy cry in her crate, my husband said “do you think it would be so bad to let her sleep on the bed?”
(Who is this stranger next to me in the bed and why is there a dog sharing my pillow?).
We’ve had a lot of trouble picking out a name. I liked the idea of calling her Junie B Jones, the heroine of the Barbara Parks series, because I knew she’d be a handful at times, full of well-intentioned but sometimes destructive energy. But my daughters felt it was too close to “Janie,” my youngest child. Hard to argue that point. We went through hundreds of other options, but none seemed right.
Almost exactly two years ago, I wrote a post about my thoughts as I walked through the woods, full of fear, alarm, disappointment, overwhelming sadness. As I walked the dogs one morning last week, my mind wandered again to all the headlines in the news that week. It seemed my worst fears had evolved into the reality I had feared.
I am usually good at finding things to be hopeful about, but lately I’ve been starting to have trouble.
Perhaps that was the name we needed to call her.
When I hear our president mocking a woman who experienced a trauma as a teen, the worst part of which was when the perpetrators laughed while attacking her, then an entire auditorium of people laughing in response.
Come on, Hope.
An earth which is starting to be less forgiving to the ravages we inflict upon her, rolling back policy on coal ash in our waterways, methane, mercury, asbestos, refusing to engage with the rest of the world on working toward solutions.
Children who are seeking refuge from horrors I can’t even begin to contemplate, ripped away from their parents, holocaust-style, at our borders with no identifiable system to reunite them in the future.
Come on, Hope.
A world where two year olds appearing alone in immigration court is a thing.
People in power, systematically focused on disenfranchising as many minority voters as possible.
A president who cannot seem to tell the truth.
Come on Hope.
Parents choosing not to vaccinate their children due to misinformation and ignorance, putting the rest of us at risk and quadrupling the rate of un-immunized children in the US over the last two decades.
Come on Hope.
I walk on and it feels good to be pulled forward by Hope, to see her moving happily forward, curious to know what’s ahead, ears up, eyes bright.
We get home and begin the tasks of our day. I call her. She comes, settles down by my side, peacefully, calmly, belly up, trusting.
I will walk with Hope. I will sit with Hope. I will advocate with Hope and snuggle with Hope.
It feels good to have Hope.
I think we’ll keep her.
Final draft: Her name is now Dobby. The wrinkled forehead, the expressive ears, her clear desire to lead The Resistance. All Harry Potter/ JK Rowling fans know that Dobby is synonymous with Hope, or perhaps Hope tinged with Worry.
Plus she likes socks.