Time with the krewe seems to slip right through our fingers. I looked at the calendar earlier this week and was astounded to see the 22nd of October approaching.
The 22nd of October marks our un-official one-year anniversary with Azure. After I had deposited her in Northern Missouri on October 20th and turned my car toward home with much relief, it never once occurred to me that I had not seen the last of this little dervish.
Azure’s story is not just her own. It is also the story of her counterpart on the fated dane-train ride to the north, and it has grown to be the story of love and friendship across the miles.
Folks who are familiar with the story know that, a mere 36 hours after I deposited Azure at her Friday night stop on the Dane Train, she returned to us, and her angelic counterpart, Ava, left us to take her place with this forever family. The exchange of leads was tearful on both ends. As the two vehicles departed that roadside drop-off point, one headed north, and the other pointed south, both cars were filled with regret and misgiving.
For nearly a year now, Ava in her northern home and Azure here at the farm each have learned their way through their worlds. Azure has fallen into her routines and has found the structure she needs to make her life stable and sane. Ava has won over the complete allegiance of her “brother,” and made significant inroads with the family cat. By email and through the blogs, we have shared in the growth of our respective families. We had the greatest opportunity to spend time with Ava’s mother at a conference earlier this summer, and an affinity we had developed through the dogs was able to gain traction of its own, personally and professionally.
I cannot explain how it felt to receive the message that suddenly, without explanation, Ava lost the remainder of her residual eyesight a few days ago. Notwithstanding brave pronouncements about life with disability, the notion of moving from Ava’s shadowed world into total darkness was a disconcerting thought. Ava’s mommy had made the statement one time that, when we met in that parking lot in Northern Missouri to trade out dogs, she could tell that Azure would be able to find what she needed with us. Azure does indeed demand a firmer hand, probably a skill set more suited to handling by someone like me instead of the creative, ebullient, loving, sensitive types of people who are inclined to become sign language interpreters.
And now, maybe more than ever, Ava needs the security, creativity, encouragement, patience and support of the people who are the perfect-made-to-order-just-right family for her. As I gaze upon our crazy little dervish, Azure, and picture her springing up from her chair and into action, butt tucked under her and ears laid flat back as she bursts into a full-bore run, and I think of Ava leaning bravely against her mommy, teeth chattering as they step into the darkness together, I am filled with an overwhelming sense that we are all exactly where we belong.