We are going through the farmhouse room-by-room, and I see that is sometimes an emotional experience. Upstairs, in a room where I keep things I don't wish to misplace, I came across Orson's collar and ID. I was surprised, I had forgotten it was there.
In 2004, I had Orson put down after he bit three people, including a child, and although it was and continues to be a controversial and emotional decision for many people – I wrote "A Good Dog" about the experience – it was not a difficult decision for me, and I have never regretted it, although it was painful. People ask if we are leaving him on the farm where he is buried when we move, and I would say yes, of course, I would not dream of digging him up. Rose's ashes will remain here also, where she lived her life. I am glad I saved Orson's collar, and I brought it downstairs to my office for awhile. I do not need bones or ashes to remember these wonderful creatures.
People ask me about Orson all the time, and I respect their concern and remembrance of him. I do not dwell much in the past, as it is a trap for me, a repository of struggle stories and memories that have little bearing on my life. By and large, I have learned to let the past go. There is a strong feeling in the world that we need to go back and remember the losses, tragedies and monstrousities of humanity, but that is not my view. I believe we need to be aware of the past, but to move forward, and tell the new and evolving stories of our lives. The past is not an identity for me, it is the past.
I have the right to a new identity and I wish for anyone else the same opportunity.