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Today the world feels a little less friendly, without one of my closest friends for the past 15 years – my dog Taz. Losing a pet is hard, anyone who has ever loved a four-legged furry can attest. It almost feels silly to be so upset over someone you don’t even talk to. It’s a death in the family and he’s the closest thing I’ve ever had to a brother or even a child. I didn’t know how to express to the woman in line at the grocery store that indeed the cherries this season are delicious, I just didn’t feel like being chatty today. Not sure how to explain to the yoga instructor why I kept crying in downward facing dog. (Okay, that last example is silly, but true.)

It’s quite simple, pets make homes more homey. They bring cohesion and play when it’s missing. They are always on your side when times get rough. Taz, aka Taz Boy or Tazzer, went for walks with me when I needed to breathe. When I needed to be reminded life actually wasn’t more significant than smelling the ground and bounding through tall grasses. One quick burying of my face into his neck and the world seemed just as it should be.

In high school I remember telling people I wanted to marry my dog (only if he were in human form of course, as if that statement isn’t weird enough as it is). I think back now and it doesn’t actually sound so crazy. He was a kind, gentle, friendly guy and impossible not to fall in love with. The first week we got him was Father’s Day. So Jen Jen, Taz, and I all crammed into the tiny back seat of the convertible for a drive up to the mountains with now what was the whole family. He leaned into the curves on the highway like an experienced race car driver and every now and then would lean in to kiss me on the chin.

Before he went to obedience school I attempted to take him on a walk on the leash to show him off at the park (apparently I thought a dog was what I needed to attract boys not wear makeup or pad my bra). He zig zagged across the sidewalk sniffing here and there darting in front of me. I started running up a hill near my house and he accidentally tripped me and I fell hard on the gravel. I thought he would run away when I lost hold of the leash, instead he just stood there waiting for me to continue. The same way he would run ahead on hikes in the mountains and then turn back to see if Mom, Dad, Jen Jen, and I were all still there.

After a person dies I feel there are ways they try to communicate with people still in the waking world. I’m not sure how I can still feel Taz around other than when I see a tail wag or find his fur on my clothes. In some sects of Buddhism they believe when a dog is a pet he/she gets reincarnated as a person in the next life. This thought brings me peace and makes me feel I made a difference in Taz’s life…so I will believe it. I’m forever grateful for the time I had with this woman’s best friend – Taz Farrar.

Today I’m grateful for doggie smell, walks, and wagging tails.

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