Posted on 8 October 2017 by Michael Dahl

Find joy.

I just lost my pup Franco. I’m grieving.

The wonderful things my friend did that brought me immense cheer are currently making me incredibly sad because of the loss. Even small things, like eating peanut butter or even seeing the jar on the shelf, bring a lump to my throat because Franco knew what opening the peanut jar sounded like. If Rebecca or I got to eat peanut butter so did Franco. He’d run to the kitchen and engage us in an intense stare down to make sure this was the case.

So many things. Even writing this post is making me sad because Franco would lie on the top of my legs whenever I sat down to write. Right now I’m imagining the warmth of his body on my legs outstretched over the ottoman.

A home, amongst many things, is a collection of memories. Each room, filled with objects, furniture, and structures that connect with recollections providing a depth to where you live. That depth currently feels like a hole full of mourning rather than a mountain of cheer: The stairway in the foyer that Franco could never climb up or down because of his unsteady legs; so I always carried him with my left arm whenever I went from the first to the second floor or visa versa. Or his bed in the bathroom alcove; if we were about to head out for the day, he’d get a treat when he obliged our command, “Go to your bed.” He was no dummy. Sometimes he’d run to his bed in the morning without our command — expecting and getting a goody simply because that almost always won Rebecca and I over. Or his blankey on the bed. He knew which one was his. If he was full of energy while in the bedroom, he’d demand some interactive playtime with us by tossing his the blankey around.

Again, a hole full of mourning rather than a mountain of cheer.

And yet yesterday as I was on a walk reflecting on all that Franco was, the words “find joy” flashed in my brain. Franco brought Rebecca and I great joy.

As I wrote yesterday on my Facebook feed:

“… A joyful bundle of energy, [Franco] made every day exciting. [he] loved frozen carrots, peanut butter, and tuna water, playing tug of war, snatch the blankey, and fetch with Rebecca and me, and athletic feats like vertical leaps, extreme rollovers, and race to the ottoman.”

Right now I can’t feel these memories as joy, but someday soon I will.