Hold on, to me as we go
As we roll down this unfamiliar road
And although this wave is stringing us along
Just know you’re not alone
Cause I’m going to make this place your home
— “Home,” by Phillip Phillips
After Jazzy passed away, I packed all of her special toys in her toy box and stored them on the top shelf of my bedroom closet. Most were tattered and worn; some still had crispy splotches of drool on them, a constant reminder of how we used to play tug-o-war and other games on a daily basis until that last month, when the cancer made her too tired. Her bed sat on the floor of my room, too, and it bothered me for some reason to let Skylar make it hers, so I gave it to Steve for Blue, who still missed her best friend terribly (though Sky was growing on her a bit).
“I thought the smell of Jazzy might comfort her,” I told Steve.
He nodded, picking up the bed. “I’ll put it in my car.” Then he stopped and stared at the empty spot on the floor. “Where’s Sky’s bed?” he asked.
“She doesn’t have one,” I said. “She sleeps with me mostly anyway.”
Just at that moment, Sky came in from the garden, her Eighth Wonder of the World tongue hanging out one side of her mouth. She stopped and stared at the empty floor right along with Steve. She was too hot to get on my bed, having spent the last half hour climbing all over Blue until Blue gave her the full Vampira — front top lip raised and teeth bared — to let her know enough was enough. I went to the garage and got an old bath matt, which I laid on the floor and covered with a beach towel. Sky didn’t seem to mind as she flopped on her side for a quick nap. “There,” I said. Steve frowned. “That’s it? That’s Sky’s bed? Are you sure you want Blue to have Jazzy’s bed?” He asked. “Yep,” I said. “Sky’s fine.”
For the next week or two, Skylar switched between my bed and her towel and bath matt arrangement. I needed to make a Silicon Valley sojourn to take Kickie to a dentist appointment, so I left Sky with Steve for the weekend. “Lucky Blue,” he said with a wink as he took the whirling dervish from my car.
Kickie and I did our usual routine: lunch, dentist, and a trip to our favorite shopping mecca, Home Goods. They have everything at Home Goods, from Italian blown glass vases to Le Crueset cookware. It’s like Disneyland for bargain hunters. I always head to the pet section, and on this particular day I spotted a big, fluffy faux sheepskin dog bed in a shade of sage green that matched Skylar’s eyes. “That’s too big for my Little Blockhead,” Kickie said, following my gaze. “I know,” I said. “But she’ll grow into it.”
Steve had dropped Skylar off at home on his way to work, so when I opened the door downstairs, she was right there, going crazy like I’d been gone for six months. She followed me back and forth to the car like a little grey and white shadow as I brought my things into the house. Buena Vista East is a busy street so I told her to wait at the mudroom door. The last thing I took out of my car was the giant sage green dog bed. As I approached the mudroom, Sky’s matching eyes lit up, and she tried to get into the bed while I was still carrying it. “Get down, Twerp,” I laughed, gently nudging her with the bed. “Let me get it in the house first.”
As soon as I set down her new bed, Sky was in it, curled up, drowning in the oversized fluff of faux sheepskin. “Do you like it?” I asked. She wagged her tail, looking up with such pride, her head held high, almost regal. “You have a bed of your very own,” I said, sitting down on the floor beside her. “A bed for Little Blockhead.”
Sky only left her bed to eat, drink water, and do her business in the backyard. I felt a little lonely — she usually slept cuddled next to me — but as she stretched and turned and rolled on her back snorting with joy before drifting off to peaceful puppy dreamland, I knew, at least this night, I’d be sleeping alone.