Friday, May 20, 2011

The Scent takes me back

I finished the book last night.  Scent of the Missing by Susannah Charleson.

Unlike Patty and Abby I didn't miss the lack of more search and rescues being performed in the book.  Quite honestly it relieved me.  It's one thing to be drawn into a fictional story because it's, well, fictional.  But while reading a non-fictional story the idea that there are real folks out there missing their loved ones had my gut wrenching.

The things that surprised me were how long and how intense the actual training for SAR teams are and the fact that you can spend years volunteering before you ever get picked to participate.  That is some dedication.  And at such a personal cost to the volunteer.  They pay their own way, they give up huge chunks of their time-willingly.  It was truly inspiring and made me want to go out and volunteer for something.

Of course I am a selfish sort so I was able to content myself with the duty I did for county (so what if it was a long time ago and so what if I did get paid for it) and know that at one time I was a good person too.

These days I am a cat person, but that wasn't always the case.  Growing up I got a dog when I was ten.  His name was J.J. and he passed away when I was twenty-two.  But growing up he was always by my side.  He loved to run and play and he disliked my water-bed.  I had one as a teenager and he absolutely hated it.  But if I were sick, he would stand by the side, sigh heavily, look at me with those glass bottle green eyes and get up there with me.  As if to say, "See, this is what I do for you."

He was a shaggy mutt that we rescued, but there was no other male in my life that loved me as much as he did during my teenage years.  When I was 19, I left home for the Navy.  I came home on leave and visits and each time he heard my voice he would tear through the house in his haste to get to me.  As the years passed he grew slower but our joy in each other never dimmed.  

In the last months of his life my Gram didn't tell me how sick he really was.  She didn't want me to freak out or worry.  I was in Japan and there was really nothing I could do.  We made the pilgrimage home that Halloween.   We only stayed two weeks but J.J., now more frail then ever and obviously coming to the end of his life still stuck by my side and acted as if I had never been gone.  

He died the day after Christmas that year and he left a hole a in my heart that has never really healed.  Of course the passage of time has made it easier and new little ones have come into my life.  But he was the first.  My first pet.  My first dog.  My first love.

The book had me thinking...would he have made a good rescue dog and honestly; I don't know.  My memories are those now tempered with age.  But I can tell you this.  He was good enough for me.


Linda G. said...

Aww. Now you've made me cry. Sounds like J.J. was a great dog. You were lucky to have him for the time you did. :)

Anne Gallagher said...

I couldn't imagine my life without a dog. We've always had them, and even though it's so hard to say good-bye, and I swear I won't ever go through it again, somehow liquid brown eyes always catch my heart.