My daughter and her giant beast of a dog blew back into my life like a hurricane, propelled by a hurricane, and swept out again like a hurricane. Having evacuated from the Florida Keys in front of Irma, it seemed like they brought her with them through my door, carrying winds strong enough to turn us, my animals and I, inside out like umbrellas.
This time of year tends to bring our young back to the nest. Some land with barely a ripple to our feathers, but these two arrived like some kind of folkloric pair, an exhausted warrior and her totem animal, seeking refuge at my hearth. The storm seemed to linger inside my daughter, and I watched her struggle against the riptide of well-laid plans gone amok as if she were trying to save herself from drowning.
While she slept away millennial anxiety, her pony-sized German Shepherd acted out their frustration in forced captivity. Racing up the front stairs, through bedrooms, down the back stairs and through the kitchen and dining room, he chased the cat madly through the house in circles. As he banged into furniture and slid along the wood floors, he incited my dogs to riot in annoyingly yappish excitement.
The rabbit had been sequestered in my office with the door firmly shut. I normally leave his cage door open, but when my daughter and her canine companion first arrived the beast managed to grab Cocoa in his slavering jaws. This happened on more than one occasion, before I had fully adjusted to the wild energy suddenly filling my house. Cocoa doesn’t seem to have suffered any casualties however, other than dog slobber, and possibly some trauma. He clearly has a sturdy heart for a rodent.
Although my nest strained under the weight of them both, and I could almost hear the popping and cracking of straw and twigs giving way in places, this barely adult, barely independent woman-child and puppy-beast found space in it on their terms. And while I felt tested, as a mother, animal trainer, even as a woman, I too found room for them. Not just in my home or my heart, but also in my mind.
The detritus of their departure were clumps of dog hair under the bed, a smear of red nail polish on the marble island, and a few punctured tennis balls in between the sofa cushions, littered like rubble on the Overseas Highway after Irma. Their presence may have stormed through my house like a hurricane, but their sudden absence left a hole in the energy field, and I felt like a balloon floating out on the ocean, my helium evaporated.