Finding a Four-Legged Home

He welcomed her home in a way that no other being could, and it was the fact that he was there to greet her that made her come home at all. She had been known to make herself comfortable in almost any setting and found a state of transit to be the state that she was most comfortable in. She had been on countless planes and piled into numerous trains and she always felt a sense of belonging in a place that claimed no one. Everyone was displaced in an airport and no one could call a train station their rightful home, and she found peace being among the displaced. It had always concerned her that she did not feel at home in the places she lived and that she felt no real connection to the people she saw every day. She thought it was odd that she felt more comfortable sleeping on a train than sleeping in her childhood home and had always been reluctant to call any one location home. There was something missing in her daily routine and there was something lacking in her daily life. She felt an obligation to no one and refused responsibility for anyone but herself. But she felt like she was missing out on something essential — she was missing the meaning of home. She did not comprehend what it was like to want to return to a place she called her own and she would not allow herself to become too attached to any one location. She sought extreme independence and sheltered herself from the downfalls of attachment. She had convinced herself that a life without attachment was one that was manageable and would never dare to hurt her. If she did not have anyone or any place, then there was nothing to lose. And she had been satisfied with this lifestyle of years — until she allowed herself to become attached to Mo. He became her home and her reason to return. It was his unconditional love that was offered as soon as she became part of his herd, that tied her down when she was least expecting it. She had not planned to stay in this city for longer than two years, and she had an internal clock that normally reminded her of her need to routinely move on. She had been waiting for that familiar moment of panic to wash over her any day now, going on four years after she moved to this new place. She had been expecting to like this place and was ready to make a temporary life here, but it was Mo who opened her eyes to the possibility of sticking around for longer. She did have human attachments to the town and her brother was the main motivator in her move there in the first place, but it was his dog who convinced her to stick around. The moment she became attached to games of fetch in the front yard and long walks with him through the forest, was the moment that she found home. When she discovered that it was his face that she looked forward to returning to at the end of a long day at work, she discovered her capacity for attachment. And it was not until she took on the role of caretaker that she understood the power of dependence and the meaning of loyalty. Mo showed her all that she had been denying herself of for years, since the home she had known as a child had been abruptly ripped out from underneath her feet. He taught her not to fear attachment, but rather embrace it for the gift that it was. He taught her that although he depended on her for food to be put in his dish, she could depend on him for a warm welcome home every day. And while he learned to depend on her for long walks in the forest, she learned to depend on him for restorative moments of reflection and company in solitude. He was able to provide the support and passive reliance she had needed for years to tie her down to something. She had been searching for something to care about and moving on constantly in her quest, dissatisfied with what was presented to her time and time again. She could have become attached to a boyfriend or a best friend. She could have felt a reliance upon the staples in her community and the job that paid her bills. And she could have felt she served a purpose in any one of the many roles she played in other’s lives. But she did not find the purpose she was looking for until she found Mo. She did not allow herself to become attached to anyone the way she had become attached to him, and she knew she could rely on no one the way she could rely on him. It was the small things that he came through on, and the small things that mattered to her. He waited by the door for her return and he placed a ball in her lap when she needed a distraction. He cuddled on the couch with her when she was feeling down and danced through the forest with her when she felt like conquering mountains. He was always on the same page as her and was forever serving her needs first, despite it appearing to be the other way around. They gave freely to each other without the expectation of return, but knowing that the love they extended would be returned anyway. She found trust in his eyes and allowed herself to take a leap of faith into a dependent relationship with him, and finally understand what it meant to call a place home.