Every once in a while, someone will ask, “What is the song in Zelda’s Song?”.
So why would I choose that for a name?
There was a special place for me and my Bernese Mountain Dog, Zelda, where we could leave behind the constraints of our everyday life in Connecticut and run like wild dogs through the crashing surf, the sandy shoulders of clear lakes, or the hushed woods. It meant a car ride of a couple of hours, but the final hour was a dead giveaway as to our destination.
An exit from the highway always prompted a napping back-seat Zelda to pop up her head to assess the need to rouse her sturdy frame into a sit. Maybe it was the quality of the light, the hint of ocean breezes or the melody coming from me that would start to tip her off. For sure, it was when we pulled into the line with other cars – many bursting with other excited, happy dogs, snouts out the windows – that she knew we were about to take the ferry to Martha’s Vineyard.
The dog rules on the Vineyard are very loose – and that’s why she loved being there. Mornings began with a plain bagel with cream cheese at the bagel shop. And then the seemingly unlimited walks and swims – at all times of the year. Perhaps a trip into town, where the tourists would line up to take her picture or fuss over her. And always, at the end of the day, she would lay her head down next to my bed, wet, well-fed and exhausted.
The melody I would sing was a chorus or two from “The Two of Us” by The Beatles:
“We’re on our way home, we’re on our way home, we’re going home”.
After I lost her, I would carry the burden of my broken heart over the same paths we traveled together, imagining her presence with me. I wanted to believe she had just run ahead of me, like she used to, in pursuit of some alluring scent that I couldn’t detect. Or maybe she was lolling around in the pond, her white paws visible near the surface of the water as her powerful Berner chest methodically pumped her arms, propelling her large frame forward ever so gracefully, while watching the gulls overhead. But no.
Sometimes I would stop on my walks and look over the land that we both shared and loved. I thought about our song….but this time, it was a very different part of the song that resonated:
“You and I have memories, longer than the road that stretches out ahead.”
Did you and your dog share a special song or a special place?