tillman and me


“When he falls asleep next to his dog, he thinks to himself that heaven is probably holding hands with your gal by a beautiful lake and laying in the grass with your dog; dreaming of the sky, clouds and the smell of grass and rain.”

Ryan Adams –

as i’m packing up my life here readying for my british adventure (i’m moving to cambridge, england for 4ish months if you haven’t heard…), overwhelmingly the most common question i get asked is:

what about tillman?

tillman has no idea, but he’s headed to sleepaway camp at the place i grew up: the farm/zoo also known as my parent’s house.  there he will have 8 acres to explore, a pool to swim, an endless supply of horse apples to eat and squirrels to chase and about 10-12 other dogs to keep him company. which means 10-12 food bowls to lick clean.

heavenly, right?

i claim he has no idea, but i think he’s getting suspicious.  sunday evening i started packing up things i’m not taking with me, which meant suitcases came down from the attic so i could stow away clothes i won’t be taking with me.IMG_0068

dogs are difficult to lie to.  he knows the difference between no socks, casual socks and running socks.  the first two means i’m going to work or play, so he barely glances my way from his choice resting spot on the cool marble fireplace.  the latter mean a chance at a walk, so he gets giddy and paces the floor.  suitcases are a dead giveaway i’m about to disappear.  case in point:  last night he jumped in bed with me.  he hasn’t done so in months because it’s summertime and way too hot for both of us.  he knows something is up.  i sweated it out because i couldn’t bear to kick him off the bed.

we go on lots of walks these days and i have a few hikes to complete before i leave.  i spent a lot of time deciding the best “transition” for us… and, for now,  have opted for dad to come pick him up a few days before i leave. i don’t think i can drive away, so i’m going to let someone else be the bad guy.  considering every time i leave him at my parents house, even just to head to town to the walmart, he looks at me with his deeply concerned muppety eyes that say “please, please, please you cannot leave me here and i am coming with youuuuuu!”  as he chases my car down the driveway…

one visit home i went to grab my ipod out of my car and he jumped into the backseat and refused to come out.  he slept there for about 3 hours.  i kept checking on him and he kept refusing to get out of the car.

i like to think he’s introverted, like me.

i’m not worried he’ll forget me.  i’m worried he’ll run away to find me or come back home.  but my parents ease my concern by reminding me he’ll have one of those great invisible fence shock collars.  great!  the dog who is terrified of a balloon tied to his collar or a paper bag rustling over his head will love shock collar training.  poor guy.  at first my parents wanted me to train him by walking through the border and getting him to follow me so he would be zapped.  yeah right.

the first 30 seconds i ever pictured myself in england, i imagined running through the countryside over hill and dale, getting caught in the occasional rainstorm, climbing over the intermittent rock wall, trapseing through a lavender field… all with tillman by my side.  then i realised tillman would not be with me.  then i cried.

for a while, i’ve had this idea for some pics with tillman and one morning a few weeks ago, danielle played impromptu photographer.  i love the results.





for some perplexing reason, multiple dear friends have put me under strict orders not to watch or read marley and me until i get back from england.  even then, they have reserved the right to forbid me from it.

i can’t imagine why, but i’m going to go ahead self-impose old yeller restriction also.


2 Responses to “tillman and me”

  1. Melissa said

    1. Ohhhh…. heart-string-grabbing sadness.
    2. Just don’t watch Marley & Me. Ever.

  2. Lisa said

    You can absolutely NOT watch Marley & Me. EVER! Don’t even consider it ;-)

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