Following what seems like several weeks away, Nozomi returned home after spending five days with Reiko's parents. We asked them to keep an eye on the puppy for a little while as very few hotels in Tokyo will accept non-human guests and most theme parks in the country have outright banned canine family members unless they're performing a vital function, such as providing vision assistance. This is the longest that Nozomi and I have been separated aside from my trip to New Jersey last year, and I sincerely hope it will be one of the last extended absences for the foreseeable future. Fortunately, the puppy was not at all upset to be back home. If anything, she was over the moon.
As silly as it sounds, Nozomi is more than just "the family dog" to me. She's a kindred spirit who is always willing to lend me her ear and be a non-judgemental sounding board for ideas. She can't really participate in any conversational way, but I find that verbalising ideas with her allows for a re-examination of ideas. Errors in judgement are easier to spot and can generally be corrected faster by airing them out in the open. Over the years, I've shared with Nozomi so many of my hopes, dreams, desires, and fears that I wonder what sort of things she'd say if she could talk. Would I be admonished for some of the things I've said? Would she forgive me for the times when I put my own trip to the bathroom ahead of hers? Would she express disappointment at many of the decisions I've made over the years?
Fortunately Nozomi cannot talk, so there is little chance of me ever hearing something negative from this positively gentle puppy.