So, anyone who knows me, personally, is no doubt aware of succubus Esme, my beautiful puppy dog, and the joys and frustrations I have experienced, since adopting her earlier this year.
Esme, is, shall we say, a challenging pup at times.
Don't get me wrong, she is amazing: incredibly cute (the point of strangers stopping me frequently to inquire of her breed and extol her physical virtues) an awesome cuddle bug (should the mood strike her) playful, athletic, quiet and almost scentless. She is also a stone cold freak: energetic to the point of seizure, rather fickle, stubborn as a cat, and almost as aloof. She's unique and I've found few dogs like her.
Now, one of the themes surrounding the quest to get to know (and hopefully train) Esme better has been an attempt to define her breed origins. It's really been a bit of an obsession of mind since she came into my life.
So, the other day, while researching the many possible breeds should be, I googled "basenji mix" and came up with Susha, a recently adopted dog several states away.
Okay: look at Susha:
and look at Esme:
Pretty unbelievable huh?
And here is the weird shit. The second I saw Susha all I wanted to do was adopt her and give her to Esme as a playmate.
No kidding. After all the doubts and frustrations and overwhelmed feelings of having one Esme, I suddenly wanted two. Insanity. Absolute complete insanity.
But I couldn't help it. I pictured walking the two and the two of them curling up together in the dog bed and frolicking together in the dog park and, just, in general, keeping eachother company. Note, I did NOT picture them tearing up the house as a team effort or bouncing off the walls together or eating me out of house and home or yodeling in their sleep in chorus. I did not picture them both pulling me over on their respective leashes. I did not picture two dogs who would look at me with confused annoyance when I asked them to do something they knew perfectly well knew how to do. I did not picture chasing two dogs across the dog park when neither came. I did not picture the compromise or the myriad of problems this would create, I only pictured the family.
And suddenly it dawned on me: the real reason behind my questionably insane desire to peg Esme's heritage: I wanted to find Esme a sibling. Not just some other dog to play with, not just some wonderful mutt who she could bond with and love, but a sibling, a sister or brother, a family.
See, I come from a very small family, no siblings to speak of, very few cousins, and little community of like heritage. Whenever someone says they know someone who looks "JUST LIKE ME" I am immediately fascinated. Whenever I stumble upon the possibility of meeting someone like me I am immediately intrigued. To say that I regard large families with many siblings with a certain envy and curiosity would be a... complicated understatement.
To put it simply, I've always felt a little like the odd duck, the stranger, and though I've built a family beyond the one nature and genetics gave me, it's just not the same as being able to observe nature and nurture work in harmony, to feel part of a pack, to sense both innate and developed likeness.
So here I am, not just trying to find my own tribe, but trying to rebuild Esme's pack in an attempt to help us all feel...well, just a little less lonely? A little more normal? Just more like...we belong?
I don't know.
Maybe it's just nature. Maybe the ways we seek to reconnect with the place we came from are more copious and complicated than I ever imagined.