From the Epilogue of For the Love of a Dog
Losing Pip, I first thought, would not be part of the deal. When Delaney was eight and I left Joe, I was stringing together part-time jobs writing, editing, and teaching at poverty-level wages and could take only one dog with me. Forced to choose between them, I took Casey Jane, Delaney’s dog, because Delaney was coming with me. For six months I begged Joe to keep Pip so Delaney would not lose Pip, too, and would still have a dog at her father’s house, but also I was hoping that within a year I could improve my situation enough to keep two dogs again. Joe refused to keep him. Pip, left alone most of every day, got depressed. The few times I entered that house again, he slipped himself into my lap, froze there for a short spell, sniffed my ears, and let me bury my face in his coat, and then before I even roused myself to leave, he dropped to the floor and curled up behind a chair with a throaty sigh. In those painful, hectic days, whenever I allowed myself to think about Pip, I was stunned and ashamed to have put myself in a situation in which I could not take care of my friend.
Border Collie Rescue found Pip a home with a woman who had owned two border collie mixes, but one had died a few months before. In a way, the woman had been in waiting just as I had once waited after Kierney’s death. Within two days of my first phone call to the rescuer, Pip was sent to the woman’s home to see how he got along with her son and her other dog, just for a trial weekend. After only a few hours, the woman phoned my rescuer friend. She ahd brushed Pip and taken him for a walk. He’d been rolling his ball with his nose and roo-rooing. “He’s a cool dog,” she said. “I can tell you already, you’re not getting him back.”
Sorry for myself, sorry for Delaney, I know Pip well enough to know that what was hard for him was not joining a new household but being left behind in the old one. So much in him was being starved. He endured six months mostly alone and without a woman to talk to him, to rest a hand on his side, to let him slip most of himself onto her lap, to look into his face when they woke in the night and share with him a wordless reunion, “Yes, we’re alive together.”