“WOOF” “WOOF” “WOOF” I hear. “BILLY” I yell out the back door. She’s not there, sounds like it’s coming from the front. “Billy! Come here! Sorry Nancy!” I say. “She was in my yard, I tried to let her out but she jumped over the fence.” Says Nancy. “I’m so sorry” I say. Nancy starts walking up to my front door. I haven’t had time to pick up the dog poop, I’m so embarrassed, it stinks. Nancy walks up the steps, “Don’t get too close, we’re infected with the flu.” I say. “I just wanted to let you know Billy was drinking from our fountain, it has stuff to kill mosquitos.” She says. I think it will be O.K., since the stuff doesn’t kill birds. I don’t have any of those cute pictures or videos everyone posts with their babies and their dogs. Billy’s not that kind of animal. The vet says she might be part wolf because of her long legs and wolfy personality. I think that’s why my mom chose her. Vikki saw Billy’s picture on the Clear Lake SPCA web site. “Jenny I found my dream dog.” She tells me. “I’ll take you to get her.” I say. It’s a three hour drive up to Clear Lake, on the 101. We drive past the exits for Guerneville and Mendo. It’s beautiful up here. My Mom is really nervous, when we get into Clear Lake we get lost. The shelter is closing soon, my mom is panicking. She starts to cry. She recently lost two dogs, Riply and Mingus. Riply survived way longer than she was meant to, my mom even had a leg amputated to cut off the cancer. Riply lived a whole year after that. I never saw my mom so depressed and sad after Riply was put to sleep. We drive down a long dirt road and arrive at the Clear Lake SPCA. My mom only got to enjoy Billy for three months, she died that December of a massive heart attack. Alan and I took Billy and Zappa to live with us. Zappa is old and incontinent so she has to stay outside in the dog house. Billy sleeps outside too. It’s been hard to keep her in the yard. She likes to go after the Raccoons and coyotes. The other night when I put her out she was all wound up, in the morning she had a gash across her face. I don’t know if it got caught on a fence or a raccoon’s razor sharp claw. The first couple of weeks after the babies came home when I went outside to be with Billy I would cry. She looked at me like I had betrayed her. It was just me and her for so long, we’d get up in the morning take a long hike. We were always together. This morning Jack fed Billy a piece of toast all by himself. Billy loves the babies now, as long as they are in a high chair or stroller. It’s really hard to give so much love and care to so many beings at one time. To make sure they each know how much I love them. To give equal attention to everyone, including myself and my husband. Sometimes I feel like I can’t do it, like I’ve run out of words and feelings. There’s such a strange area of doing all the things that need to be done, loving all the creatures that need to be loved, and just being present. It’s easy to get lost.