Since his death, Vader's beds have sat empty. Always a sad reminder for any dog owner, but this was particularly challenging for me given the fact that two of them bear monogrammed covers of his name "VADER" in big letters. As he began to age, I brought him items to make his life more comfortable. This included two, huge Tempurpedic-like beds from Orvis, designed to take the pressure off his tired joints. I had these monogrammed. I kept one of them downstairs and the other upstairs in my office. I could never let Alfie near the beds because she liked to pee on them and even though they had removable covers, they were still a challenge to clean. So after Vader died, I couldn't decide what to do with them.
They are big and take up a lot of room, so just having them sit as targets for Alfie's active bladder did not seem like a good idea. I thought of giving them to my friend Joan, but she is in the process of moving and is trying to rid herself of excess dog products not add more. I propped the downstairs bed up on his side to make more room in the dining room, but left the one in my office there to see if Alfie might use it for something other than a toilet. Last week she finally did.
Alfie has gotten very attached to me since Vader died and often comes and sits on the floor beside me as I write and make my phone calls. Last week, I caught her looking at Vader's bed. She actually approached it nervously, sort of at a crawl, sniffing. Her head darted from side to side, looking for something. I'm not sure if she was expecting him to dart out from nowhere and attack her or for me to scold her, but once she seemed to deem it safe, she hopped up, started scratching and spinning and finally plopped down in the center of the bed, content. She looked like a queen claiming her throne.
She has avoided the bed since then. Mostly I think because it has been too hot, but today I found her back in the bed again. This time even more relaxed. This simple act brought me such great pleasure. I did not want these beds to sit empty as silent testaments to Vader's life and death and I really didn't want to get rid of them. Partly because they are so nice, mostly because they bear his name. When Alfie curls up to nap in Vader's bed, I feel both my dogs nearby -- the one in the room and the one in my heart.