This weekend Aa and I leave for Chicago for my Grandma's 100th birthday! Yay Grandma!
Then we come back. Then ten days later I leave again for Chicago for Christmas. But this post is not about how December is the most expensive month ever. Oh, no. This is about my friends S, D, and R, who are (respectively) hosting the Zacker while we're at the party, and then staying with the Zacker in the Minty over Christmas. (I love the idea of R hanging out with Zack at the Minty, by the way - although she's going to get sick of me calling every hour and asking what they're doing and if they're having fun.)
Last night, as I was sitting on the couch in front of the fire (with Zack sprawled across my lap, dead asleep) thinking about how much I love the little guy. It's weird, he's a dog, but because of him I feel like the three of us - me, him, Aa - are a little family.* It makes me sad every time we leave town and leave him behind. But it's really reassuring to know that Zack is going to be with other people who really care about him and like spending time with him while we're gone. This weekend he'll also have a playmate - S & D's astounding dog Ellie, who can leap like 8 feet in the air. I'm feeling pretty warm and fuzzy about all this, as you can plainly tell.
But the thing I was thinking about last night, aside from how immensely grateful I am to my friends for taking care of Zack, is how having Zack has affected our lives. Yes, it's kind of a pain in the ass sometimes. Yes, it sucks when Zack destroys another one of Aa's socks. Yes, it drives me insane when it's 3 am and he decides he needs to walk across my neck so he can wedge himself between Aa and me. But still. Because of him I'm part of this little unit **. And because of him the community we have has grown and in a lot of ways reinforced and changed for the better...it's changed how I talk to people and how I interact with animals. I've had more nice conversations with people on the street who just want to know more about Zack than I would have ever guessed.
I didn't know how having this crazy little space alien of a dog was going to open up our lives and enrich them in so many ways. But it's so great. It's worth all the lousy stuff, including trailing him down the street as he sniffs while I beg him to poop already so I don't miss my bus.
*I know he's not a child. I know. If you have kids and you're reading this I'm sure you're thinking I have no idea what the whole family thing is like. You may be right but this feels pretty awesome right now.
**Seriously, I know he's not a child! I do.