I just stuck my foot out beside my desk and petted a certain big yellow dog, and I remembered our first days together. I was in class with miffis, who has already written her one-year tribute. I've never been good at doing anniversary tributes on the exact day--I have to be in the mood to say something. But petting Loretta with my foot made me remember...
My deepest grief about retiring Meg was the loss of the dog under the seminary table. Meg was truly in her element at seminary, and I was angry that so little of her working life was able to be spent in that kind of enjoyment. She should have had three or four years there with me, but she only had one.
In dog training, the instructors encourage us to do what we can to simulate our daily life. So in addition to my normal training activities, I trained Loretta to lie under my desk while I did my Hebrew. Her preferred place at home when I am typing has always been right beside my chair, and she is a champ at getting under my chair in seminary. It is perhaps a silly way to bond, but it is a very emotional thing for me. During those long hours in class or doing homework, all I have to do is move my foot and rub some place on her: her back, under her floppy ears, under her chin... I wear slip-on shoes, and I'm not above slipping them off in seminary so that I can feel her fur while I'm studying. She, in turn, often rests her head on my foot as if she knows how much I enjoy being close to her. I doubt she really knows. I think she just enjoys having a place to rest her head, and it's nice that the place happens to be me.
Loretta is born to work. If I stand still and chat for too long, she whines. But she has no problem being under the table. It's as if she knows she belongs there.