|Buddha Beach Oak Creek|
But that evening, a few hours after our return home, we woke our older dog, Shadow, for her dinner. And she couldn't rise to walk. Eventually, after some stretching, massaging, and coaxing, 5- or 10-minutes later she was able to get her feet beneath her and wobble outside to her bowl. The next day, she was just fine... perhaps a little slower than usual, but mostly just fine. But the whole episode, it kinda shocked us. We'd processed it mentally. Discussed it openly. But never really witnessed it: Shadow's getting old.
I'll wait to reveal the other photo until I hear who made the final cut.
But today I got an intriguing email from the editor of Mountain Gazette... an email he sent to all of us who submitted photos to the magazine for this little contest, which read:
I thought about it all morning, whenever I had a moment... Why do we love our dogs? I re-Googled a few old quotes, favorites of mine, about dogs, to find inspiration. I love Travels With Charley. It's one of my favorite books of all time. So much of what Steinbeck had to say about dogs, especially his giant poodle, Charley, rings true to me. Like:
"A dog is a bond between strangers."And:
"It is my experience that in some areas Charley is more intelligent than I am, but in others he is abysmally ignorant. He can't read, can't drive a car, and has no grasp of mathematics. But in his own field of endeavor, which he is now practicing, the slow, imperial smelling over and anointing on an area, he has no peer. Of course his horizons are limited, but how wide are mine?"My favorite dog-quote really has very little to say about dogs. But it is one borne by many a Bookman's employee and customer; it's on one of their popular T-shirts, a quote by Groucho Marx:
" Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read."I like that one because it's kinda funny, and a bit unexpected the first time you read it. It gets less funny the more you read it. But still...
As I've said before, I love our old dog, Shadow. And I'm learning to love our crazy puppy, Rubia, too. I think most dogs are good dogs. Better than people sometimes. I think dogs are a means for us to better understand ourselves. In my case, our first-dog was an important means to help me gain unexpected insight into my capacity to love something, or someone, that I really never expected to love, in a bigger and better way than I ever imagined I could.
I really do think it was this dog-borne epiphany that compelled me to really want to become a dad. And I'm so glad it did!
So in the end, after a lot of thought, I sent this to the editor today:
"Dog is patient. Dog is kind. Dog does not boast. Dog never fails."Gotta say: I think I got that one right.