There are just two of us here, Gordy and me, but we share our life with nine dogs, eight horses, and three donkeys. Honestly, animal caretaking and farm maintenance are a near full-time task for us. We would tell you that we enjoy every minute, which is globally true, but not precisely true in any given minute. Meet Tootsie. She was our last rescue, not counting Bruno coming back to us. I have written about her rescue and rehab journey if you are interested. Tootsie is blind which doesn’t stop her from being spunky and adventurous and joyful about life. It also, however, gives her anxiety. She wants to be with one of us, at least to know we are in the room. It is especially difficult for her to wake up from a nap and not know where her people went. So she cries. Small yips, woeful chortles, escalating to sharp barks. We know what she means. We call to her. But no, when Tootsie is in her anxiety, there is only one solution and that is that her people must come to her.
It happened just now. She was asleep when Gordy left, and I am in the back room, writing. Tootsie awakens. No people. I hear her whimper, but mentally beg for just the space of a moment to complete my thought. Tootsie yips. I can’t think. Tootsie cries her lost in the wilderness cry. I get up with a groan and a sigh. It will never end unless I go there, so I go. That moment is not an act of kindness; it is an act of duty, executed a dozen times already today. Fortunately, it’s a long walk from the back room to the couch. Enough time for me to contemplate, not her neediness, but the privilege of being needed. What an act of kindness by her: she NEEDS me! I am one of only two people that holds the remedy to her anxiety. She has appointed me keeper of her well-being. Every day, she trusts me with that great and precious gift. I pick Tootsie up and she holds her face as if she is looking into my eyes, then snuggles her head under my neck, limp like a baby. Carry me wherever you want, mom. I have everything I need.