It’s a funny thing, grief. One minute all seems even-keeled. The next, a favorite song is playing…one that begs for joyously wild dancing, which I slide into without thinking. Song ends, and I fall onto the couch in a puddle of tears with thoughts of Jonah and how we would “dance” together swirling through my head.

Jonah wasn’t really much of a dancer. But he seemed to enjoy it when I did. In his youth when I danced around the house, he’d join in by walking around and bumping into me; I’d give him the sign to spin this way or that, which he’d happily do. As he got older and arthritis made it hard for him to get up and down with ease, he’d just watch me with what looked like a grin on his face. I’m pretty sure he thought humans were odd creatures.

It’s simple things I miss most about him. Working some magic in the kitchen and I’d look out to see him in the hall, next to the closet that held his treats, looking intently at me. I always wondered what went through his head. Was he willing me to stop what I was doing to give him yet another treat? Was he looking at me because I was his person and he loved me? Dunno.

In the last few months of his life, he slept a lot. But he still would come up to one or the other of us a few times throughout each day to nudge a leg or a hand (or in Marc’s case, testicles), in the knowledge that he only needed to ask, and we’d stop to pet him. Marc also let Jonah give him full-on wet tongue kisses on his face, and that was a regular part of the post-dinner cuddling time. I usually had a more complete knowledge of where that mouth had been and was not into wet kisses. Jonah knew the difference. For me, I’d get a gentle touch to my cheek or nose from his big ol’ nose.

When we’d first found each other, he had a habit of approaching to give kisses with his mouth wide open and it looked like he was about to bite. I don’t think he was, it was just really unnerving. I tried telling him no, but he wasn’t learning restraint quickly and he was eager to make friends. So I decided to act like a dominant dog might and I bit his ear. As a bit of a germaphobe, this was a big deal for me to put his furry ear in my mouth. But I thought it needed to be done. I’m sure there are much better ways to teach a dog, and yet this was highly effective. I did it one time, just hard enough that he let out a quick yelp and then I let go. He never came in for a kiss so aggressively again. I did the same to teach him not to jump up on people. I’d tried the various tricks my friends had shared with me like shaking a jar of coins when he jumped. He thought everything was a new game to play. So I bit his ear for that as well and afterward, he would come up onto his back legs, but at a distance from the person. I called it his rearing pony.

I miss that silly guy more than anything. I miss the laughter and smiles he brought to my day. I’m thankful he’s out of pain, but I really wish he could have stayed a little longer to explore this new place with me. I know this sadness too will pass, and a part of me doesn’t want it to, because that, some photos, and these memories are all I have of him in this world.