I was thinking about Relampago after writing my earlier post about him and kids, and earlier today, I went back and read a lot of posts under his tag
. I feel his absence still, but it's not as painful of an ache. I miss him terribly, but I've reached the point that I smile more when I think about him than cry.
Then I watched some of these videos
and I ended up all out bawling in my office. The link takes you to ten vidoes of dogs welcoming their soldier owners home from prolonged absence. Of course
it's heartwarming. It must be noted that with the bawling, there was a lot of giggling.
I'm very used to these types of scenes, because I've been through them a lot.
I first got Relampago at ten weeks when I came home for Chistmas break in mid-December 1992. I went back to school in mid-January, and I left him with my parents. We'd had four weeks together, but I wasn't sure that he'd know me when I came back in late-March for Spring break. I shouldn't have worried. He was was overjoyed
to see me. He was six months old, and he'd spent most of his life at that point without me, but he knew that he was mine. For the week that I was home, he was constantly by my side.
Back to school and home again for three more semesters, and then off to England for almost a year. Every time we were separated, the reunion was enthusiastic and joyful and full of hopping and love and kisses. Usually he'd go to the airport with whoever was picking me up, and he'd end up sitting on my lap all the way home telling me how much he missed me and how happy he was that I was home.
Relampago always had separation anxiety issues, though, and I'm sure it was my leaving for prolonged periods that casused it.
In 1999, I'd left him in Houston for six weeks I'd tried to move to DC to find work, and he was anxious about another separation. I came back to Houston depressed and dejected, feeling utterly worthless, and his reaction to my homecoming was one of the things that kept me sane afterwards. When I moved to Berkeley six months later, I had to leave him again. It took me three months, but I finally found housing for us in June of 2000, and he flew out to Oakland to meet me. The reunion in the airport was loud and obnoxious and full of overjoyed love.
After that, we were never separated for very long. Maybe a week here and there for a trip he couldn't go with me on, but generally we were together non-stop for the last eight years of his life. He always knew, though, when I was planning on going somewhere. The funniest was when we moved back to Houston in March of 2002. I was packing the car, and he was increasingly getting nervous about the whole thing. Finally, he couldn't take it any more and he hopped in the car and refused to get out. He stayed in there for hours, staying there when timur_i_lang
and I went to get something to eat. I don't think he agreed to get out of the car until we were half way to LA.
When I moved back to Houston, he either stayed at my house and someone from the family moved in or he went to my parents' house. All reunions were full of enthusiastic love, and when Crianza came into our lives, they'd fight over who got to be petted more. It'd take him a day or two to make sure that I was actually home and not leaving him again.
Whenever I was away from home for prolonged periods, it was Relampago that I missed the most. Everyone else I could talk to, get e-mails from. Contact with Relampago, though, was only through stories and assurances that he was ok. I still will ask about the dogs when I'm away from them. Calling in to my mom every day or so when I'm away. Hell even if I'm just gone for work, I'll ask about them if I talk to Graham.
I know that unconditional love that is literally thrown at you when you come home after a prolonged absence. And I know that feeling of unmitigated relief that your dog still knows you and loves you best even though you were so cruel as to be gone for so long.
Tags: memories, politics: war, relampago