It was last summer and fall, when I was on the couch for weeks and weeks, that Daisy would sit by my side. Although super frightened of my walker, she was a great caregiver, overall.
When I began to walk around and even leave the house (!!), she still liked me. We have, after all, been friends for eleven years.
Sometime in February, though, she began to disappear for hours at a time. We found that she was hiding in the basement, laying on this one place on this one rug…and nowhere else. We could not get her to hang out with us, not even for carrots, her favorite.
I began to Google “when your dog hides from you” and discovered that perhaps she wasn’t feeling well. I took her to the doctor for bloodwork. Indeed, her liver enzymes were high.
“Ge’ez”, I wondered aloud, “I wonder if her liver is out of whack from all those opiates I took”. Yep, magical thinking.
Daisy began some medication and a month went by…two months. Yes, there was an improvement in her bloodwork. But still, all day long…no Daisy.
We closed the basement door. Then, when we were upstairs, she was downstairs. When we would enter a room, she would leave. I know I didn’t say anything to offend her.
I began to imagine what it would be like to have a dog. Sometimes, I hear, they sit with you. Sometimes they like to be petted. Sometimes, people say…their dogs actually like to be with them. Sometimes, it is rumored, their dogs actually love them.
Not mine, though.
I had daydreams of us going to the fair, hand-in-paw. She and I are sharing a cone — carrot ice cream, of course. We ride the Ferris wheel at sunset, snuggling at the top. In my dream we go to a drive-in movie. She sits in the front with me. We are under a blanket. We watch: “All dogs go to heaven”.
Back to reality. I am shopping for Passover. I begin to stock up on Matzah. One anxiety-filled afternoon (no dog to pet anywhere in sight), I open a box. I take out a square.
It slips from my hands, I scream “noooooooooooo”. It falls to the ground and shatters.
My dog, Daisy, appears from nowhere, almost for the first time in months.
Having never eaten Matzah before in her life, she begins to eat it from the floor. She sits in front of me, tail-wagging. She expects another piece.
I break off a little bit, unbelieving, and hand it to her. She gobbles it up.
Could it be she loves Matzah more than she loves carrots?
She had, for two months, been enjoying her medication inside a peanut butter or duck-flavored pill pocket. When I say “enjoying” — I mean it. But Matzah — now this was in a whole different category of excitement.
Suddenly, when I would sit down, Daisy would appear. She expected Matzah.
“You want a little piece of Matzah?”, I would ask? Her eyes lit up. Her tail wagged.
It is Matzah that she dreams about now, day and night. Who does that?
Now, most days she leaves when I enter a room. When I am downstairs, she goes upstairs; when I am upstairs, she goes downstairs.
But sometimes, on occasion, in the mornings, she will sit next to me. She will snuggle into my knees and let me know that at least we have a history…that she used to love me. She will even close her eyes a minute so I can bury my fingers in her fur. Yes, it is true. She used to love me.
And that I can buy that love again.