Friday Firesmith – Two Months of Wrex

It’s been two months, sixty days, of the Return of Wrex, and I have to say I’m still having fun with this dog. Of course, there are some issues, as you can well imagine, and chief among those issues is that Wrex has been separated from humans and dogs he considered family for nearly four years and dropped into a strange pack that he has not seen in four years. You would have to think he misses the kids, the other dog, his home, his routine, the place he slept for four years, the bowl he ate from and the familiar life that he had. Does he wonder if this will happen to him again? Does Wrex wonder if this was somehow his fault? Does he think he has been kidnapped? Does he worry about his family? Wrex is a very loving little dog. I cannot help but wonder if he worried about what happened to those who cared for him or that he cared for in his old life.

That I know of, in his four-plus years of life, he’s been abandoned at least twice, adopted out twice, returned to the Humane Society once, and Wrex has known turmoil and displacement. Does Wrex think he has to try harder to be loved and accepted because he was abandoned? What happened that led to his family to give up on him like they did? What hardship did he suffer in the events leading up to someone he trusted and loved to drop him off and walk away from him forever?

This has to hurt Wrex, and it might have harmed him as well.

Meanwhile, back at Hickory Head, I wonder if Wrex sees any conflict with management as potentially a threat to his being part of the family. The chaos of the Coyote Encounter left my little boy badly shaken and his impulsive nature has been revealed to be a liability. This is nothing that cannot be corrected with enough training, and with more love, as most dog problems can be solved with those two things. All of this has led me to make the decision to allow Wrex to sit beside me on the sofa, which has historically been Tyger Linn’s place and move me closer to the center of the sofa to let Tyger Linn sit beside me, too. As important as it is to make sure Tyger doesn’t feel pushed aside by the newcomer, I think it’s equally important, considering all things, to let Wrex know he is valued, equally, as a member of the family and the pack. Wrex has to trust in the fact that Hickory Head is his home, forever, always, and this is where he will live out his life as part of the story told about my life. There will be no other families and no other homes, except those that have all us as a part of those homes and those families. I do not know if Wrex has ever felt this before. I do not know what happened in his last home. All I have to answer for is how he feels in this house, my home, his home, and our home.

How much of this is reality and how much of it projection? Could all of these abandonment issues simply be mine and Wrex is just a dog in just another home and he’ll be fine anywhere he’s petted on occasion and given enough food to eat? Or are dogs more complex than that, capable of feeling the grief and bereavement of loss of family?  Do I really have some connection with this animal or am I just reaching for emotions here, cross-species lines, and totally lost in my wanderings? I have no way of knowing.

Last night, Wrex moved from one spot near the foot of the bed and came to be snuggled. I pulled him close, and he wiggled a bit before settling down. Wrex heard something outside, lifted his head, and I could see his ears silhouetted in the darkness by moonlight. I wondered if he would go to the window, to look out into the night, but Wrex put his head down and in a few minutes, was asleep.

After a long telephone conversation with someone last night, and after listening to the sound of Wrex’s breath, rising and falling in the night, I realize I cannot hope to guess what has happened to this little dog, who I knew four years ago, no. I have only to take him into my home, and into my heart, and that is all I have to do, for it is all I can do.

Take Care,


Mike writes regularly at his site:  The Hickory Head Hermit.
Opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those of the management of this site.