Just Us Humans

My favorite picture of Laura & Lola

On Saturday, December 26, 2015 we put down our beloved dog Lola. She had tumors in her throat that were slowly cutting off her ability to breathe. Surgery wasn’t an option. For the past couple months she had good days and not so good days, but the week of Christmas it became apparent that it was time to take action and do the unthinkable. Even though her breathing sounded like Darth Vader, in every other way our senior Belgian Malinois acted like a young dog: she had a great appetite and always wanted to play catch or tug-of-war. Our vet came to the house and let the process take as long as we all needed. Lola’s death was calm and peaceful. We know we’ve done the right thing by her, but we are heartbroken nonetheless.

Lola loved to jump and play catch

I had been wrapping up a job and made the following Monday my last day. After an appointment Laura had Tuesday morning we ran away from our too quiet and still house. The first vacation we’d taken together shortly after we met in Chicago was to Ogunquit, Maine and that’s where we headed (it’s just a bit over a three hour drive from where we now live in Connecticut). We intended to get away for a day or two and ended up staying for six. The time along the brooding Maine coast was just what we needed. As Isak Dinesen said, “The cure for anything is saltwater: sweat, tears, or the sea.”

The Nubble Light House in York, Maine

But it was weird that we were able to be so spontaneous, both in leaving so suddenly and staying away for as long as we wanted. Leaving town for us has always involved scheduling pet sitters. When we first met we had two cats apiece. I joked that we were the lesbian version of the Brady Bunch. Blending our four cats was a challenge, especially without the help of an Alice, and then Lola unexpectedly came into our life (we found her in the alley). She was the reason we bought our first house, because four cats and a dog in a one bedroom apartment wasn’t working out very well.

Lola was a fierce protector but also a serious snuggle bunny.

Lola changed our lives in so many ways and all for the good. She taught us the value of investment, focus, patience, and how to play and love with abandon, among a slew of other things, like how to be as fierce as circumstances warrant. Now, almost fifteen years later, all the cats have gone to kitty heaven and Lola is gone, too. We will eventually have another cat and dog in our life, but for now it’s just us humans, learning how to adjust to life without our faithful companion.

Ann Patchett’s Bel Canto (2001) is the book I threw into my bag on the way out the door. It’s a novel I’ve wanted to read for a long time, but never got around to. I wasn’t sure if I’d be in the mood to read on our getaway, but I never go anywhere without a book. Plus, later this week I’m seeing the opera that’s based on the novel, so it was at the top of my TBR pile.

I started reading the book on January 1st and quickly fell in love with Patchett’s writing. It’s the first novel of hers that I’m reading and although I haven’t finished it, I think its safe to say I’m developing a full-blown author crush. I’m sure I’ll write more about the novel after I finish it, but for now I’ll just say it is a beautiful, life-affirming story, and just the book I needed to be reading. I’m logging off now to go finish it.

p.s. If you missed my post on the adorable Ogunquit Memorial Library click here to check it out.


  1. So sad about Lola, but how great that you saved a pup from the alley and gave her such a good life.

    Bel Canto was my first Patchett and since then I have read all of her novels and her memoir of her friend Lucy called Truth and Beauty and tend to really like, if not love, them all.

  2. Sorry to hear about Lola, but I'm glad you all were able to experience such a joyful life with her! And I loved the idea of a Lesbian Brady Bunch with cats, if you're not writing the novel yet, you should be.

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