…Or also known from Ranger’s perspective as:

ranger2.jpg

“Hey! Where’d everybody go?

Blackjack’s wonderful new guardian Carlos came by last night at 6 p.m. and picked her up to take her to her new home and family. Part of me had been hoping I’d’ve been on my weekly river ride and missed the exchange, but instead with Susan at my side and with Ranger cradled in my arms, we watched from the front porch as the last of her siblings went off to lives of their own.

We’re all absorbing this last goodbye in our own ways. Susan and I tearfully embraced with Ranger between us and then Ranger went romping around puppily, but not entirely unaware of what was missing. And then I somberly went on that bike ride.

This morning Ranger’s getting a better grip on the reality. When I went to get the newspaper I took her out and introduced her to the front steps, to which she was curious but tentative. And in her first solo backyard visit there was some extended looking around for her buds (or at least Blackjack) but then she found a rawhide chew to occupy herself and later went burrowing through her favorite burrowing bush.

With the entirety of time from rescue to placement being only three weeks, one would think that attachments shouldn’t have become riveted so hard to my heart, but they did. I find myself smiling like a proud papa at the memories of the four of them pups together, be it in the back of the vehicle that first hot Utah day, or smuggling them into the room at the Cliff Dweller Lodge, or going for their first walkabout at the north rim of the Grand Canyon, or sprawled out sleeping on the kitchen floor, or thundering on their unsteady pup feet through the house in pursuit of one of the cats, or tumble-running backyard laps in pursuit of me. And I find myself hauling out the bandana a little weeped up when I hear Ranger whimper slightly somewhere else in the house with Susan calling lovingly and reassuringly out to her, all of us realizing those days — however few — are done.

But more importantly all of us also realize that the adventures with Ranger have just begun.