We brought him home from the breeder's in May as a tiny puppy that you could hold like a baby. A loving pup who drank water out of a bottle in my lap while we drove him home. Who licked the water off of my skirt when it spilled.
Indy is huge now but he's learned how to be gentle and not play rough with me (though he occasionally accidentally clocks me in the face).
He waits for me outside the bathroom door and tries to nose his way in when I'm in the shower.
And after I leave Mike and Maria's house in Syracuse where he lives, he doesn't understand that I'm gone for a while, so he waits for me outside the attic door.
It's hard for me to accept love, to believe that it's permanent when I'm told that it is. But I'm learning how to be loved by this beast (a term I use lovingly), a big loving gentle beast who probably doesn't remember how we first met or why we feel so close.
I never grew up with pets, and the closest I ever came to having one is when I took care of Nicki's sister's cats for a summer. Winnie and Tigger were cuddly, but more with each other than with me. Winnie slept on my head every night, sometimes clawing at the rubber bands that I left in my ponytails, other times waking me up by gnawing on my scalp.
I only spent one summer with Winnie and Tigger but I still have a framed photo of them in my kitchen. I heard that Winnie got really sick a couple years later, and I have this sinking feeling that she's not around anymore (but can't verify since I'm no longer in touch with her owner).
It's hard to lose the things you love, or to lose love, but sometimes you've got to take all you can get while you can get it.
So for now, I've got a puppy that lives five hours north who's too huge to be a lapdog anymore, which doesn't prevent him from climbing up there and licking my hair.
I am imprinted.
Further Reading: Long Train Runnin'