The night before I brought my son Maxfield home from the hospital (two days after he was born) I brought home a knit cap that Max had worn so that our dog, Luna, could smell it and get an idea of what was going to happen in our house. Max was going to make mischief.
Three years before that, in late October of 2001, Lauren and I decided to get a dog. I was in my early 30s and Lauren, well, she was younger than that. We went to the local SPCA and as fate would have it we picked out a German Shepherd Chow Chow mix that was classified as an unknown runaway. We did not really decide on her, but she decided on us.
She had a weird look. Her teeth were gnarly (not in a Surfer dude "hey that wave is really gnarly" kind of way, but in the way that her teeth pointed in very odd directions for her mouth kind of way) and her overall appearance was somewhat ugly. The people at the SPCA could only tell us she was a recent stray that seemed well trained but had no home. They figured she was a runaway. I had visions of her being a dog of someone who lost their life on 9/11. Maybe the dog had escaped her home and found her way to the Philadelphia area. She was not pretty, but she was beautiful. Ugly beautiful. Beautifully ugly.
Lauren and I decided to call her Luna, which is Spanish or Italian or Greek or something, meaning the moon. She looked something like a wolf, and wolves howl at the moon. The name was fitting.
I never had a dog. Luna was my first.
In Maurice Sendak's book Where the Wild Things Are there is a picture of all of the monsters looking up at the moon. It is right after Max declares that the wild rumpus should start.
In June of 2006 I brought home from the hospital, a day or so after Wyatt, our second son, was born, a knit cap, for Luna to smell. She licked at the cap with her big purple tongue ( purple a genetic trait of her being a Chow, or of her being a Wild Thing) and she pawed at it with her large over sized feet and front paws with long dark terrible nails.
Luna's coloring was all over the place. Sometimes she looked brown, other times she looked striped. One of the monsters from Maurice Sendak's book Where the Wild Things Are looked the same way.
In early January of 2009, I brought home a knit cap from the hospital. Our youngest son, Jackson was born and I wanted to make sure that Max and Wyatt and definitely Luna had a chance to smell what was coming home in the next day or so. Max and Wyatt did not sniff at the hat, but Luna, Luna inhaled the scents.
In the book Maurice Sendak's Where the Wild Things Are, Max decides he is going home. The Wild Things protest and tell him "We'll eat you up-we love you so."
Our dog Luna has been with us in -paraphrased Maurice Sendak's words- "through night and day, in and out of weeks and almost over a (decade). "
Due to circumstances beyond our control , we had to put Luna down this evening. She was (I hope) at peace, Lauren and I holding her and petting her as the vet administered the shots that would take away her pain. Luna is now Where the Wild Things Are, chasing rabbits and eating treats.
I am sad, Luna was my first and only dog. Lauren is even more sad than I am. But we are adults and have had Luna in our lives for the past ten years. We can handle it.
But even worse than our feelings, is the fact that on Friday 10/22/10 Maxfield will have his first day in his entire life ( 6 years and 7 odd months) without his dog. Max knows this and he has cried about this. Wyatt will experience his first day in his 4 years and 4 months of life without his dog. Jackson, who is only 3 month shy of turning two , will have his first day without Luna.
We know she is Where the Wild Things Are. We love her so. Let the wild rumpus start.