Monday, May 2, 2016

Talking back to my little girls

Die Mädels/Musumesantachi/"Da Goils"
My friend Ed sends dozens of doggie things from the internet my way, knowing that Taku and I have built our lives around Miki and Bounce these last five and a half years, and that that has turned us into fanatic dog lovers.  I display my obsessiveness for all to see.  Without shame.  Without apology.  I always hoped I might find a life companion, and was blessed when Taku came into my life and was willing to marry me, after we had already spent over two decades together.

And then, out of the blue, came these two other little critters whose only purpose in life would seem to me to be to draw every ounce of love and affection I ever stored away in the farthest corners of my being.  And, incidentally, did pretty much the same for Taku.  It’s a love we share.  I had no idea I was capable of this much affection.  I’ve always said the way you know you’ve found a good friend is not when you find somebody to do you favors or to be there with you.  It’s when you find somebody who makes you a better person than you would be otherwise.  I feel, when I’m with Miki and Bounce, I’m as loving and as caring as I can get.

Bounce, aka Bu-chan, Bu-ko, Boobie
Ed’s latest sloppy sentimental piece (of many!) this morning was a thing somebody wrote using the voice of a dog.  It struck me as a pretty good representation of what a dog might well say to you if he or she could speak.  And could reason the way you do.  OK, so it bothers a lot of people when we “anthropomorphize” animals, making them imaginary friends.  The thing is, I’m having trouble thinking this is anthropomorphizing.  I am persuaded this is the consciousness of a dog speaking to me.

So I’ve decided to talk back.  I am using the singular, but what I say applies equally to both my little girls.

1. My life is likely to last ten to fifteen years.  Any separation from you will be painful: remember that before you get me.

I will remember that.  I didn’t want to think of that when we got you.  You were just a four-week-old puppy and we wanted the illusion that you would live forever.  But now that five years have gone by in a flash, I realize suddenly that we may have to face the end of your life in as little as another five years.  I pray that it will be much longer.

2. Give me time to understand what you want of me.

Will do.

3. Place your trust in me – it is crucial to my wellbeing.

You got it.

4. Do not be angry at me for long, and do not lock me up as punishment.

I don’t need to be told that.  It comes naturally for me to not stay angry with you.  And I have put you in a cage at times only to protect you, and never to punish you.

5. Your have your work, your entertainment, and your friends.  I have only you.

You do recognize that you have others, as well.  Bill has flown across the country to sit with you while Taku and I went on vacation.  Every time Amy comes home you go wild when you see her, so I know she too is part of your life.  And don't forget Jason, who brought you your favorite doggie toy to date, that tuna roll from

6. Talk to me sometimes.  Even if I don’t understand your words, I understand your voice.

We talk every single day.  And I don't mean only, “Come on girls, time for pipipupu.”

7.  Be aware that however you treat me, I will never forget.

I am aware.

8. Remember before you hit me that I have sharp teeth that could easily hurt you, but I choose not to bite you because I love you.

Hit you?  Hit you?  How on earth could I ever hit you???  My Lord, what a horrible idea.

But I appreciate your explanation of why you don’t bite.

9. Before you scold me for being uncooperative, obstinate, or lazy, ask yourself if something might be bothering me.  Perhaps I might not be getting the right food, or I have been out too long, or my heart is getting too old and weak.

Miki, aka Mi-chan, Mi-ko, Mikele-Pikele
We notice you tend to eat things that upset your stomach a lot.  I hope you realize when you sit at the table and beg that one of the reasons we don’t feed you is that we want to keep those unpleasant moments to an absolute minimum!  When you don’t eat, we worry.  It’s hard not to rush you off to the vet at the slightest provocation. 

10. Take care of me when I get old.  You too will grow old.  Accompany me on difficult journeys.  Never say: “I cannot bear to watch” or “Let it happen in my absence.”  Everything is easier for me if you are there – even my death.

We’ll be here.  That’s a promise.  We’ll be here.

Remember that I love you.


I’ll remember.

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