We hadn't really gotten a chance to mourn together, and her tears brought out mine. As I sniffled, the dogs raised their head from six feet away and immediately came over to offer their particular brand of comfort. With Blue's head in her lap, my mother said quietly, "He used to lick my hands and my feet."
It's a comment I've heard laughingly dozens of times from my mom, and one that I completely understood. Blue is a licker. My legs, my feet, my hands, my face (if he sneaks up on me.) Sometimes it's to the point of exasperation. "Blue, get back!" is a common theme in my home when he's visiting. Since my mom is the person who most resembles me in her household, I assumed Blue would attach himself to her first and, of course, the licking would continue.
But in that moment, her comment took on a different meaning.
"When you're sad? He'll lick you to offer comfort?"
Her mute nod made me cry even more. Because the dogs? It's like they sense your sadness. And they do what they can. And sometimes? It's something that no one or nothing else can accomplish.
So I'm back down to a one dog household. I'll figure out how to get him back in time for my parents to leave for their next adventure later. Because even with school and all the planning required, if Blue can be there when I can't? Priceless.