My sisters would often say, “it’s when it gets quiet, really quiet, that is when you know the kids are up to something!” Yup, that’s when you tip-toe to the door and listen, eavesdropping to hear what they are saying and doing. Hoping to catch them in the act, and then get ready to bust’em! I think most parents would agree.
Malcolm and I would do the same. Quietly investigating whatever the dogs were doing, checking if they were up to any mischief. Tip-toeing so the girls can’t hear us coming. Quietly checking out what they were doing. Being sneaky ourselves.
Usually it was Tiamo, our Momma dog, counter surfing the kitchen for food. We would stand off to the side, out of her line of vision, watching her sniff along the counter edges. Quiet as a mouse, she was smart enough to check to see if we were in the room, her eyes scanning for humans. If the scent was enticing enough, she would balance her front paws on the edge of the granite counter top and start licking up the crumbs. When the crumbs were out of her reach, a paw would stretch out to snatch the tasty tidbits. We have lost a several pounds of hamburger to her tactics. And cheese. And pumpkin bread. To be honest, not much was sacred when it came to Tiamo and her paw’s reach onto the counters. It was a sport for her and she was a crafty bitch. We would hold back our chuckles at her antics as we reprimanded her. She knew better, just like my nieces and nephews.
Amore wasn’t quite as subtle as Tiamo. When Amore ran out to the pen in a hurry, we knew to check out the window to see what was tightly gripped in her muzzle. She had this belief that if she can’t see us, then we won’t know what she is up to. Her brand of quiet was “out-of-sight-out-of-mind”. Socks, shoes, dish towels, hot pads, books, mail, magazines, packaging, even Malcolm’s heavy winter coat, if she could hold it in her mouth, she could and often would, drag it out to the dog pen. If you only had one half of a pair, the matching other half was most likely outside. If it was missing, we checked the pen first. Amore’s quiet brought us to the pen every time. She would grin her silly dog grin, her eyes glowing, thinking she had pulled a fast one on us. Ha! I truly don’t think Amore really had a quiet side. Her nature was more blatant, in your face, silly. Her love of life was just too loud.
When Malcolm and I reminisce about Tiamo and Amore, we laugh about their escapades. It’s hard to stay too upset when they got such enjoyment out of their misdeeds. When their eyes would sparkle over what they thought they were “getting away with”. Both Tiamo and Amore knew better, but they still tried. Our quiet-radar got’em every time.
But Dolce’s quiet wasn’t like Tiamo’s or Amore’s.
Dolce’s quiet was different.
Throughout her life, Dolce quietly withstood surgery after surgery. She quietly balanced on three legs as she learned to adapt in a new world without her front leg. She quietly took her chemo medicine and she quietly accepted she would no longer be able to jump on the couch or the bed. She knew her days of cuddling with me were over. Dolce quietly bore the pain of cancer until she couldn’t. And then, Malcolm and I knew it was time to give her sweet, sweet heart its own quiet.
Dolce’s quiet hurts. Her quiet squeezes the heart and bleeds it dry. Her quiet is the silence of no longer having her in our lives. Her quiet is the emptiness of a home without her in it. Her quiet is this ache in our souls that hasn’t had enough time to ease.
One by one our beautiful girls live’s have quieted to silence. The thump of their tails against the wall muted until our memories can’t even recall the sound. Their loud and noisey barks to announce a car in the driveway have gone mum. Their paws against the brick floors silenced, the jingle of their dog tags toneless. We don’t hear the dog door swish, or the sound of their heavy breathing as they sleep. Anymore. We don’t hear hear our girls anymore.
Our house is quiet. Too quiet. Painfully quiet.
And yet, the quiet is pronouncedly loud without our girls in our lives.