Five years ago on this night (it’s the wee hours of the morning as I write this), I was trying very hard to be invisible as I sat beneath a sign that said NO TRESPASSING while I was, in fact, trespassing. I’ve written about it before, but I was sitting out there because I had made a promise to that goofy-ass dog in the picture above: I promised I’d get him out of that shelter and give him the best home we possibly could.
I hope I’ve continued to make good on that promise.
The further into the night, the colder it got. I hadn’t stayed up all night outside maybe ever, but I knew he was outside that night, too. We might have been 100 feet apart, separated by fences and bars, but I tried to beam information to him: I’M GETTING YOU OUT OF THERE AND I’M TAKING YOU HOME.
Over the years, it’s become somewhat of a tradition for me to write about him on his adoption anniversary (you can find them all here) as an update on the strangeness and wonder that is Cloud.
Early last year he discovered a fascination with the bathtub which has only increased; he often spends hours a day, every day, in there. He’s become such a tub fixture that I’ve often had to plan my showers around when he isn’t in there. Occasionally I ask him to get out if I need to get cleaned up to be somewhere (and he always obliges, but looks f’ing sad while doing it), but often I just let him be while occasionally heading back there to check on him. I frequently hear his little dog talons tap tapping while he sleep runs in the tub.
In the past year, he finally howled! I am a huge mess for dogs howling (there is something deeply moving and primal about the sound), and his first ever howl (that I witnessed, at any rate) was while driving him home from the dog park. We live on a busy street and close to an emergency vehicle dispatch; sirens are common to him. Something about a particular fire truck’s siren that drove past us caused him to throw his head back and really howl. I cried. It was a beautiful sound and I’m so grateful I got to be there for it. I just wish I could have turned around and really watched him.
He howled two more times at traffic at the corner near where we live. I’m still unsure what it is about that particular spot, but something there urges him to orate.
Long ago I taught him to sit when he wants to observe something in nature (e.g.: a squirrel, birds). He continues to do his best at this and it always makes me smile. There is a particular squirrel in our neighborhood who I can only assume recognizes the big dog (me) with the slightly less big dog (Cloud). The squirrel will get exceedingly close to us and WATCH. We’ve spent many minutes just watching each other. Not long ago, the squirrel was so comfortable with our presence, he buried a nut not more than two feet from where we were standing/sitting. It was a magical experience.
He still wants his face to be rubbed pretty much all the time. It’s his preferred interaction of choice.
The past two months he has been moving very slow. Like, much older dog slow. We thought it was a phase, but recently it has become clear it’s either a long phase, or something else is wrong. We started him on hip and joint supplements (which have been helping), but these past few days it became clear he will need to be seen for whatever is happening. He’s going to the vet on Saturday. I hope they can help him. He’s too young to be moving as slow and labored as he has been. Yesterday was especially rough. The situation is confusing as he doesn’t seem to be in any pain when I examine him (and I’ve examined him at least once a week since this began), or any pain, otherwise. He just moves as though he is.
Late last year he became incredibly sick. There was one night I honestly didn’t think he was going to make it. I stayed up all night with him pleading for him to hang on until we could get him to the vet in the morning. He was admitted and we had to leave him there all day to be put on an IV for medications and fluids. So many tests were done and no answers were found. It was terrifying.
The first year we had him here with us, he was at the vet nearly every month for something (thank god for pet insurance). His health was generally poor, which we attributed to his circumstances before we adopted him (he had been abandoned and was found on the streets, incredibly skinny). His health has gotten far better over the years (thank goodness), but this current situation concerns me.
In case it wasn’t already clear: I adore this dog. He is my squishy insides. He’s a massive sweetheart. He’s goofy and silly and his earnest expressions make me wish so hard I could speak dog.
I am grateful I get to be in proximity; he’s lovely.
Please enjoy some of my favorite photos of him over the past year. <3
He likes to take naps at the dog park.
I will never not love photographing him while he is yawning.
A photo I took for a banana-loving friend.
This was the night we brought him home from the vet after his alarming illness. He loves sheets so I made him a face fort. He likes face forts.
He is like this so often. <3
Dear god, that disapproving expression.
He’s so beautiful. His pure dog heart makes my own pitter pat.
His favorite place for a nap: the tub.
Happy “birthday” Cloud. May we share long and content lives.