Before dawn, 24 years ago today, I woke a nearly-four-year-old Kate to watch eight Siberian Husky puppies enter the world. I took their appearance on Leap Year Day to be a good omen, not realizing that ran counter to many cultures’ views on luck. In Greece, I’ve since learned, it’s bad fortune to marry during a Leap Year, never mind Leap Day, itself. In Scotland, those born on February 29 are called “leaplings,” and considered harder to raise.
But the last little girl to arrive–the tiniest by far–seemed to carry her luck with her. She was about eight months old when circumstances changed and I regretfully placed her with friends who had her litter mate. They called the next day to say she had escaped–no big surprise, if you know huskies. A few hours later, she showed up at my front door, instincts having guided her the five miles home. She would stay, forever.
That is, forever in creature time, which, for beautiful, brown-eyed Biko, was 15 years. When she developed seizures and it became clear the time had come for her to go, the vet and I sat on the floor at Alameda East, petting her and talking about the goodness of dogs and what an honor it is to share their entire lives. He remarked that he could tell she was well loved. I replied that she and I had walked our three miles just that morning.
It all came back this morning, Leap Year Day, as I remembered our marking her every-four-year birthday with a celebratory can of tuna–Biko’s favorite–and posing the question of how that worked with the dog-year multiplier. Let’s see…almost 4 x 7, carry the…
“There is no psychiatrist in the world like a puppy licking your face.” ~ Ben Williams