Vector is resilience personified. His face-licking, fetch-playing joy belies the guile and guts he drew upon to make this enhanced existence - this life beyond his wildest dreams - possible. Amidst a coddled early childhood, where toddlers are encouraged to share, care and express their feelings, Nicholas will come to know, love and forever remember a family member who made it by being just plain tough as nails.
Live in the moment
Among my most relaxing pleasures is watching Vector in our backyard, where he becomes a beautiful blend of lazy lightheartedness and scrutinizing sniffing. He is immersed, engrossed, unconcerned. A barking Buddha.
Dogs are the ultimate Zen masters, and one with Vector's assumedly haunting past further intensifies this distinction. His life story is starkest during these quiet moments: He is "outside good" when before he was outside very, very bad. The weight of a world that for years threatened to crush Vector is squarely off his shoulders. He is cognizant of none of this. He is just a dog enjoying his backyard.
Humans, of course, cannot emulate a dog's ability to shake off the past like so much bathwater. We can, however, make progress toward that unattainable ideal. And as our phones ceaselessly ring, buzz and ping, Vector's present-tense life embodies a sanity-saving lesson.
That's where Nicholas comes in.
My son will grow up in an era of omnipresent, oftentimes inescapable Internet connectivity, the likes of which we've surely only begun to experience. The world is already at our fingertips ... imagine what Nicholas will have at his, even by elementary school. It already seems too inundating - too noisy, too disruptive, too constant - and it's only going to get more saturating.