Thursday, August 25, 2011

Being Alone

Sirius likes to be with his people. He's okay when we leave, but if we are home, he has always stayed pretty close. When we move from room to room, he tends to follow. He has mellowed with age and lies around a lot, but still prefers to be nearby and will usually move with us from room to room, then settle in again.

The Loyal Ground Crew
One of his pet peeves is when I go up on the roof to service the swamp cooler. It doesn't seem to be out of concern for my safety; he is just upset that I have disappeared. He stays on the ground with Mark (though he has tried to navigate the ladder a couple of times) and circles restlessly until I am done. He likes to be with his people.

On a recent evening when we were settled in the living room, Sirius meandered around the corner into the dining area. He circled a few times before lying down on the cool linoleum floor. He was content and comfortable... for awhile.

Then we heard noises. It wasn't really a growl, wasn't really a whine. It was just... concerned.  It was soft at first, then increased in intensity and volume, toward a bark. The tone worried me, so I got up to check on him. He was still flattened out on the cool floor, just like before, looking comfortable except for the sad face. When I walked into the room, he stopped making that pathetic noise, raised his wonderfully expressive eyebrows, and greeted me with a tail wag.

Apparently he had looked around and realized he was alone. His people were not around! And he was lonely.

Happy Sirius
He's done that again a few times. "Sirius," I reason with him, "You left the room and walked into here. You are the one who moved. We are fifteen feet away, just where you left us." And he wags, glad that I am talking to him, happier again with his lot in life.

Silly dog.

And yet, when I'm honest, I see that I've done that a few times, too. I have stepped back a little, for any number of reasons, and have sometimes forgotten to come back. Then, after awhile, I have felt too alone.

It is good sometimes to step back from relationships, even just for the benefit that can come through healthy solitude. And it is good, too, to be in community. My silly dog has reminded me of that lately.

No comments: