I Would Drive 500 Miles

Our beloved pets often journey with us lifetime after lifetime... 
-Zen to Zany

With apologies to the Proclaimers… but I would drive 500 more, just to be the [person] who drove a thousand miles right to your door…

This week was a whirlwind of the unexpected and exhausting: Last week we discovered that the breeder where we’ve gotten our second generation of huskies had a four-month-old boy she needed to find a home for, since she’s suffered several traumatic health events in the past year. We’d been tentatively considering expanding our pack now that we’re settled into a new, dog-friendly place of our own; my timeline had been more toward the end of the year, so I could build up the time off to be able to spend the first week with the new baby of the house.

My timeline did not match the universe’s timeline. Wolfgang stormed into our hearts from his first picture, combining traits from two of our first-generation huskies in ways adorable and endearing, and reinforcing my belief that our beloveds do return to us if we open our hearts to that possibility.

Wolfgang, a black and white Siberian Husky, curled into the corner of our kitchen cabinets
(c) Tonya Cannariato 2022

So we drove the nearly thousand-mile round trip last Friday and Saturday and came home with our fourth husky. The first of our third generation. And we were reminded of how much work puppies are – though to be fair to Wolfy, he’s figured out the house training thing already, and after the first few nights of sleep-interruptus, we’re all back to our more regular sleep schedules… Even if that means he’s training us to go to bed earlier than had been our previous practice.

The amount of sleep deprivation we’re recovering from, though, had me wondering all week if I weren’t fighting some bug, since my symptoms included random low-grade fevers, dizziness, and headaches. I was grateful for the flexibility in my job that allowed me to work remotely for those hours I could manage while we figured out how to establish our new normal.

The puppy has given us all a welcome dose of joy, which I’m sure will help improve my resilience to micro-stresses. I would be curious whether, anywhere in the world of language, there is an “untranslatable word” that encompasses the wonder of the echoes of the lifetimes of connections we have with our fur-kids.

Interestingly, there’s been recent research on the nature of our connection with our stuff, that speaks to the fulfillment and completion that can come from furnishing a unique-to-you, comfortable home. How is it that beyond recognition that from a grief-counseling perspective losing a fur-baby is as traumatic as losing a family member, there is no corresponding language about the nature of this chosen-family, cross-species kind of connection?

From a completely non-scientific, non-randomized, non-rigorous review of what other authors in the SFR realm self-report about their animal companions, I find it interesting to note that those who write well about shifters and aliens and the deep, meaningful relationships that can be formed between those beings and humans… all have animal companions living with them. In my experience, the mental flexibility to represent a unique kind of cultural translation between beings of different species who’ve chosen to spend time together in harmony takes first-hand experience to portray with any fluency.

This latest change in our lives means I still haven’t officially started writing book three of my Planet Seekers series, but… it’s not far off now. I’ll keep you posted, as the shifters of my story take shape and impact the choices my characters face.

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