The farewell was what is called asymmetrical in military analyst circles. I threw him a longing look and could hardly suppress my need for a goodbye kiss, Jack lay bored in his seat in the car. Then I went to check in in Berlin, and he and his other human made their way to his second home, Rome. I spent the last two months with him in Sicily. Every day he got up with me at dawn because I had to organize the farm work. He has welcomed with me the early fires burning the previous day's section of tree. And he checked the fuse box with me, in which the solar system for the charger is turned on. And then he proudly ran back up the mountain to lie down somewhere for a mid-morning nap. Preferably under my desk. While I sat around the campfire in the late afternoon and listened to sentimental songs, he scattered firewood around the property. I think I can speak for both parties: we were a good team.
The withdrawal didn't go as expected. On the day I arrived in Berlin, my roommate L. carried a little lady dog up our four floors, which he took care of for two weeks. Her owner showed us two of her tricks when she was handed over: standing on her hind legs and rolling sideways on command. I was immediately filled with envy. Because when it comes to tricks, Jack is far too stubborn. I'm glad when he sits down somewhere when asked urgently.
Our guest bitch is not a model animal that has been trained since she was a puppy. She was dropped off in front of a Romanian animal shelter and then found her way to Germany. Bella, that's what I call her out of discretion, is a fluffy creature, just a bit bigger and more solid than a dachshund, but at least as funny. We placed her bed in a premium spot with a 360-degree view, but she prefers the armchair my roommate leaves his sweaters on. When I went to pet her on the first day, she snapped at me with a snarl like I was an intruder. Now we get along very well. She jumps up on me in the mornings and at least five times a day she licks my hand with her tiny tongue as if to reassure me that I'm really accepted as a supporting actor in her pack.
The funny thing about dog love: It transfers. Just because I no longer have Jack by my side, Bella is a comfort. Also or because the two are so different. While he rarely gets disturbed (but when he does), she tirelessly scuttles around the apartment, startling at every sound and sudden movement, barking at the handyman repairing the bedroom window as if defending the flock of sheep . And while her tongue is reminiscent of a great-aunt's neatly folded towelette, Jack's is like a wet washcloth. As is well known, comparisons in love or friendship are useless. The more I grow fond of Bella, the more I realize who I lost mine to.