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The Comforting and The Comforted | Grady Pruitt

Three years ago, my family said goodbye to a family friend.  Goldie, one of our dogs, had been with my wife and I for about 15 years — about a year less than we’d been married at the time.  In early November, I did an exercise that brought up a memory of her.  I forget where the exercise came from, but after doing that exercise, I wrote a post about the experience on Facebook.  What follows is that post, which originally appeared in my timeline on November 7, 2013.


Recently, I was doing an exercise where I brought to my mind a time when I felt happy. At first, I was confused by the scene that came to mind, but the more I thought about it, the more I understood why that moment was a happy one in my life and how that moment has lessons for my life, even now. But what surprised me the most was that the moment involved Goldie, my dog who recently passed.

Oddly enough, that moment was from when we first got Goldie. I guess it was because I was missing her that this particular moment came to mind and I must have been reflecting on my time with her.

About 15 years (and a few months) ago, we went out to my father-in-law’s place out in the country. A stray he had taken in had recently had puppies, and he had offered for us to have one if we wanted one. My wife and I had been married for just over a year and thought it would be nice to have a dog, even though we were in an apartment.

I don’t remember exactly how many were in the litter. One that was all black. Another was mostly black with white paws and I think a patch of white on his head. There was one that had similar markings to their mother that was a patchwork mix of black, brown, and white. But the one that seem to catch our hearts was an all brown one with white going from around her nose down her belly and around her paws and a white tipped tail. Her fur was a golden brown color and she became our golden doggie — Goldie.

The scene that popped into my head as I did the exercise, though, happened on the way home from that trip. Of all the trips we have taken to my father-in-laws, for some reason, that particular trip always seems, to my mind, to have been the longest. My wife remembered a place in a nearby town that she wanted to try to eat at, so we drove that way. For some reason, I don’t remember us stopping. Why, I don’t remember. But as we left the town heading home, it began to rain. Not just any rain. A heavy downpouring rain.

Here we were with a puppy, already a little nervous (though enjoying) the car ride, and we happen to go through a heavy storm. Now, normally, in Texas, these storms are fairly brief, but for some reason, this particular storm lasted for quite some time. With the storm being heavy, and the dog being frightened, I spent most of that ride in the back seat, with Goldie’s head in my lap, trying to calm and reassure her.

At first, I couldn’t understand why this particular scene was the one that played out in my mind when I reflected on a happy place for me. Yet, it felt right, especially with the recent passing and her being on my thoughts anyway. But I quickly realized that it was a time where I bonded with Goldie, perhaps in a way I haven’t with any of our other pets we’ve had since. I had feelings for that dog in that moment that would only be surpassed a few years later in a similar, yet different, way when I held my first son for the first time and again five years after that when I held my second son for the first time. I believe that it was those feelings that drew me to that particular experience.

As I thought some more about that scene, I began to realize that there are times when I am “frightened”, like Goldie was then, by the unknown, unsure of what is going on and what is going to happen. I’m going through a lot of that right now with my experiences on learning to do 3D modeling and rendering. Like Goldie, I seek that comforting reassurance that things will be fine and that everything will be okay. Things may look scary, but if I keep going, a grand adventure may be ahead of me.

At the same time, I realized that there may be those around me who need reassuring. My two kids, for starters, as they grow, will need that reassuring presence. But there are others around me who may need it from time to time. Fellow coworkers, writers, artists… People that I meet everyday online and offline. I need watch for those opportunities where I can provide that guidance that things will be fine and that they will work out.

And as I realized this, I realized that we are all at times the scared little dog unsure of what lies ahead or where we are going. At other times, we’re the comforting presence. Sometimes, we’re both at the same time. But if we keep going and have faith, things will work out for the best in the end.

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