Ayashe is our little handful and the newest member of the family. His name is Chippewa for “Little One” and I call him Ayashe Loki, since he can be such a devil. Born in 2011 just a month and 10 days before Sparky died, he came into our lives in early 2012 because the black hole of losing Sparks threatened to keep Adam, Nemo, and I for all eternity. Rationally, it was a tough choice. We knew Nemo was ten and in a few years we may have been dogless and a little freer to roam. But is the journey worth it without a dog? Emotionally, there was no choice. Not once we met Yishi, as we call him. One of his first acts was to steal Adam’s camera. He was a keeper.
Nemo arrived via airmail just before Halloween in 2002 about a month after we purchased a little cape with a big yard. He has always been… unique. And my shadow. I’ve never had anything idolize me as much as this little bugger, which is at times amazing and most others very disconcerting. Especially now when he is 13 and seems to prefer being within three feet of me at all times. Sensitive to the extreme, he took Sparky’s death hard and our grief harder yet. It took years off his life, ones that Ayashe hasn’t managed to replace. With the perspective of how quickly Sparky went downhill the last year of his life, I realize how much Nemo has changed slowly in tiny increments that slip away almost unnoticed. Gone are the days when he chased seagulls on the beach, running like a greyhound. Gone are those days when he “porpoised” into oncoming ways to swim after a thrown apple. When did his favorite activity become sleeping and watching me, rather than running full tilt? If he had one wish, I know it would be to be with me as much as possible with whatever time he has left. And I really want to make that happen.
Sparky left us December 21, 2011. He was three when I met him on the Vineyard with Adam. I really wish I could have seen those puppy years. For a creature who was so independent and only listened to Adam, he accepted me completely once we met. I watched him overcome his fear of the ocean due to his complete love of all things ball like as he swam (wearing a life vest!) out to sea to attack a mooring buoy. He had that type of spirit; full of fire and tenacity. It stayed with him until his last moment. He was as ready to go as we were to lose him. My bud, he stole my tea (preferred Earl Grey). I still feel sadness finishing a cup without offering him a share. Ornery monster had the patience and memory of an elephant, waiting hours to sneak onto the table one time when he wanted a piece of bread that I told him he couldn’t have (he waited until I was outside). He challenged us and perceptions, annoyed at rules that kept him out of stores as if his place and life was less meaningful than ours. My world, our world, lost something the day he died. I still haven’t gotten it back.