Like a Band-Aid, you take the heartache and make it OK
No more pain …
You take the anger off my brain and the wrinkle off my brow
I don’t know how you do what you do, but you do do it
Well, I’m sticking to you like Velcro,
And I won’t go where you don’t go
‘cuz your love compels me
So, you are the wind within
And I’ll shout it out, won’t go without you
Oh no, won’t go without you …
— From “Velcro,” by Evie Haskell
I carried Skylar straight to the backyard and set her gently down on the lawn. “Do your business,” I said. And she did. Figuring she’d like to sniff her new surroundings, I left her there and headed toward the bathroom, but within seconds I heard high-pitched whining coming from the garden. I rushed back outside to find Skylar standing in the middle of the yard looking like, well, a lost puppy. “What’s wrong?” I asked. She put her head down and shuffled over to me, leaning against my legs for comfort. “Well, come on,” I said, and started back toward the bathroom, Skylar following so closely that I could feel her at my heels. As I stood at the sink she was right behind me, staring intensely with those big green eyes. “Wow, Sky,” I said, looking back at her in the mirror, “Are you going to be clingy?”
From the day I brought Jazzy home, she was confident and independent. For our first lunch date we went to Zazie in Cole Valley with my writing mentor, Bruce Bellingham, and sat on the front patio. Jazzy, just seven months old and 25 pounds, lay stretched out at my feet. “I’m going to use the restroom, will you watch her?” I asked Bruce. “Of course,” he said as I handed him the leash. When I returned, Jazzy barely looked up.
“Did she miss me?” I asked.
“She never moved, so I guess that means ‘no’ in doggie body language,” he said in that droll Bellingham style.
Several more lunch outings with several more friends garnered the same result. “Did she miss me?” I would ask, and they would shake their heads ever so slightly and smile, as if they were a little embarrassed for me. During those same months, Jazzy was spending her nights in the spare bedroom, and shortly after that fateful morning when I awoke to find her sleeping beside me, the two of us ventured out for a lunch meeting with one of my editors, Cindy Beckman, at Rose’s Café on Union Street. Jazzy was the perfect vision of pittie in pink in a bubblegum-hued collar studded with magenta rhinestones, and, as always, she was the perfect lady, taking her spot beneath the table and stretching out in the afternoon sun. When I left to use the restroom, she cracked one eye as I opened the glass door, stepped inside the restaurant, and headed down the hall. When I came out, I gazed toward the glass door and noticed a black nose pressed against it and two bright blue eyes staring back at me. As I took my chair, Jazzy wagged her tail and nonchalantly lay back down in the sun. “Did she miss me?” I asked. Even though I knew the answer, I needed to hear it, so Cindy played along. Without looking up from her menu, she smiled and nodded. “Yes,” she said, “she missed you.”
Still exhausted from her spay surgery, Sky slept pressed against me the rest of the day as I worked on some writing in bed. Every time she woke up I would take her outside to ensure she didn’t have an accident, then praise her, which she seemed to like. That night when it was time to brush my teeth, I snuck away while she was sleeping, but as I stood at the sink she was right behind me, staring intensely with those big green eyes. “Did you miss me?” I asked, looking back at her in the mirror. This time, I didn’t need to hear the answer.