By Bren Dubay
“Daddy … Daddy,” called the little boy from his bedroom. He had recently made the transition from crib to “big boy bed.”
After morning hugs, he said to his dad, “Puppy.”
When his father reached for his stuffed toy puppy at the end of his bed, the little boy became agitated.
“Puppy, puppy,” he demanded as only a two-year-old can.
“Here’s your puppy, Rowan,” the father replied.
“This is your puppy.”
“No! The walking puppy!”
The grown-up caught on and carried the little boy downstairs.
On a recent trip to Texas, we took our dog, Harry. We had cautiously returned to flying (COVID) leaving him in the care of fellow community members but there were signs that Harry might be entering his last days.
Rowan loved Harry. And though the little boy was only two, he understood that he needed to be gentle with the dog. He delighted in feeding Harry treats (we have videos), patting him softly, and giving him hugs so tender that it melted the heart of any adult watching.
Harry rallied. It was a good trip.
If you received Koinonia’s gift catalog last year, you saw a picture of Harry. This community loved that dog, too. There was just something beautifully otherworldly about Harry. There were tears as people hugged him as we were leaving for Texas. Would they see him again? There were lots of text messages while we were gone, “How’s Harry doing?”
We made it back home to the farm last Tuesday (8/23). On Saturday, as it became known that Harry was going to be taken to an emergency veterinarian clinic, more than a few people came to sit next to him, stroke his coat, and whisper sweet words to him. Some sobbed.
Harry died on Saturday, August 27, 2022. He was Jim Dubay’s dog but he belonged to everyone at Koinonia.
Do you ever wonder why people do something so crazy as living with other people in community? Why would you want to form a family with those with whom you for the most part have no biological connection? Biology can be difficult enough. I watched the way people cared for Harry through the years. I saw their care at the end. I’ve witnessed both of these for humans here, too.
I don’t wonder about living in community. I see the answer daily. I experienced it on a visceral level these past two weeks. I know why I live in community.
Goodbye, Walking Puppy. Your large family deeply loves you.