Paw prints and then

by Lorin Michel Saturday, December 13, 2014 9:50 PM

It was raining here this morning when I took Cooper for a walk. We knew it was coming in. My weather app said as much. Plus the west coast got hammered a day and a half or so ago and the storm was moving east. It was a nice rain, just enough to make both he and I wet but not drenched. It’s the kind of rain I used to love to run in back when I was a runner. I miss running in the rain. Fodder for another post.

By the time el puptart and I returned, we were both fairly drenched. He shook and Kevin wrapped him in a towel, rubbing his fur to dry him off. I shook my head to fling out some water and headed for the bathroom and the hairdryer. Cooper, sensing where II was going, pranced ahead leaving wet paw prints on the floor. I smiled.

I’m a sucker for paw prints. I suppose most pet lovers are. The perfection of the tiny or sometimes not so tiny pads that hold water and leave a trail even inside, even for a short time until they evaporate.

Yesterday, we noticed tiny paw prints on the face of the fireplace in the great room of the new house. Vertical paw prints. I’m not entirely sure how that was possible but there they were, in a cluster. Some were perfectly formed, others had slid together as if whatever was trying to scale the wall in order to get inside the hole just above the fireplace was using all of its little might to heave and pull itself to safety. Mike remarked that he hoped some little creature wasn’t somewhere in the walls. If it gets sealed in inadvertently ir’s screwed.

We’ve seen all sizes of paw prints at the house, some obviously a dog, some more suspect. Coyote maybe. Or bobcat. Mike says there are bears out there. I haven’t yet seen anything remotely the size of a bear’s print, but yikes.

Paw prints appear on cars all the time. I love when you see the prints across the hood of a car and on the windshield, the telltale slide. I can imagine cats or raccoons getting on top of a car just to slide down. Like an amusement park for the wilderness.

It always makes me smile when I see the paw print stickers people put on their car windows. It’s as if they’re signifying solidarity; showing their love of the furred ones to the world. I always want to honk and say “heck yeah.” I don’t because they wouldn’t know what I was honking about and they’d think I was a nut, which of course I am, for animals.

When we lost Maguire, my sister and niece gave me a sterling silver necklace featuring a small silver triangle. Inside the triangle is a paw print. On the back is Maguire’s name. I wear it all the time in memory of our beloved boy, the one Kevin nicknamed puppy feet when he was little; he of the large paws.

There is a popular meme known as footprints in the sand, about god and walking beside and then carrying. I prefer the idea of paw prints in the sand and everywhere. That’s about dog to me.

Paw prints bring me comfort, they make me feel safe, they fill me with love, even when they’re on the floor in the house, even when they’re muddy. They fade or are washed away, but they are the stamp of my dogs, past and present. They are their way of saying “I was here; I still am.” And that’s always worth celebrating.

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