If you have a dog, you will most likely outlive it; to get a dog is to open yourself to profound joy and,
prospectively, to equally profound sadness.-Marjorie Garber
I stood in front of the large metal sink and giggled to myself. Ozzy, the Golden Retriever waited expectantly for me to start dousing him with warm water.
“Oh aren’t you a little sweetie pie. I just love you,” I said in a soothing tone as I patted his muzzle.
In response, he snuggled my cheek and gave me a quick lick with his tongue. My heart melted. As I sprayed him with the directional nozzle, I thought about the last six months. I’d had every weekend off, but I didn’t feel complete. I missed my Salon Bitches. I missed the barking dogs. The nail clippings, the baths, the smells, and even the occasional nip by the anxious and scared puppy.
I missed being doused with water and the exhaustion that came with heaving dogs up and down from the grooming table. I missed seeing the end result of the bathing process. My dogs are divas when they prance out to their pet parents. They know they look good.
I missed Marlena, Clara, Humphrey, and Clark. My life wasn’t complete without them. They are my other children.
Marlena had just given Clark a Mohawk. He looked so damn handsome. I placed my arms around him and braced myself. I knew his hug would be fierce. It was as I expected. Intense; warm.
Marlena and I shared secrets and tears. God, how I missed her warm embrace and the sweetness of her heart.
Clara walked in and started dancing around and giving me precious hugs. Her blonde hair is finally shoulder length. She is more beautiful than I remember.
Humphrey came in not much later and gave me hugs and dry humps. He yelled, “Don’t you ever leave us again, you whore.” I responded, “I promise I won’t. As long as you keep calling me a whore, ya slut.”
There were nails to trim. Stories to tell. Lives to catch up on. Dogs to wash. Ears to clean. Gossip to share. Hair clippings to be swept up. Hearts to mend…
During the course of the day I silently observed Marlena, Clara and Humphrey. I wondered how I could have stayed away. I belonged here.
I finished washing Ozzy. Taking care to cover his eyes when I was rinsing his head. Then I expertly dried him with the high velocity blow dryer. By the time Ozzy was dry, I looked like an 80’s hair metal god. I removed him from the tub and walked him to his condo, set the floor dryer on high and headed back out to the salon.
Marlena made the comment, “Our Sundays are complete again.”
I agreed with her and screamed my trademark line, “Eat the kitty. Eat it! Eat it!” I made a V with my fingers and stuck my tongue through it.
My friends lost their minds, and so did I.
I finally felt complete. Like I was home.