Fingerless glove

looking for what's missing... I'm a knitting, spinning, mother of teenagers with a big dog, a small cat, minus the lovely rabbit Meliflua.

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Location: Virginia, United States

Right now I'm listening to "An Irish Country Village" by Patrick Taylor, reading "Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake" by Anna Quindlen and knitting Wisconsin Wintersocks. And casting off the lace shawl I've been working on since I last posted.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

It's a Dog's Life

I haven't posted in so long, I almost forgot my password. Today I have an instant post. I struggled for ages on the rough draft of my first English Comp essay (500 words on an animal), only to get to class and hear the advice, "It's not about you." Since I have to ditch the whole premise, I figured I wouldn't waste the work and would post it here. It's not about knitting, but you could scoop up the hair this dog sheds and spin it, so it's kind of related.

No sane person would keep a dog. Dog ownership can produce dust bunnies the size of dinner plates and have you considering a stock purchase in the lint roller division of 3M. As a dog owner, you will become well versed in the poop-scooping laws and the poisonous nature of anti-freeze. You will never have another spontaneous weekend getaway, but you will have expensive veterinary bills. Why would an intelligent woman keep a hungry, pricey ball of fur in her home? My dog Eiger answers that question. He reminds me to laugh, to be loyal, to have confidence in myself, to strive for my goals, and to keep things in perspective.

Eiger is the real life incarnation of my favorite childhood cartoon character, Mighty Manfred the Wonder Dog, the constant canine companion of Tom Terrific. Eiger and Manfred are a little slow and not noticeably bright, but both dogs are unerringly loyal and somehow always in the right place at the right time. Every time I return home, Eiger greets me with enthusiasm, waving his flag of a tail. He makes me feel necessary, especially when I am lonesome. Like Manfred, he is prepared to risk himself to protect me. He is a fierce bee killer, snapping at bees and wasps mid-air to save me from their sting. Yet at the rumbling approach of a thunderstorm, that same fearless hunter turns into a quivering mass of Jello that hides under the bed.

Unlike Manfred, Eiger has a luxurious coat of long blond hair. If you could ask him, I am sure Eiger would identify more with Fabio than Mighty Manfred. His coat ripples enticingly in the breeze like the romance book-cover idol’s equally fabulous mane. This is a neat trick for a dog that is far from purebred, but he never lets his dubious parentage get in the way of his Fabio-like confidence. His white Husky-like facial markings reinforce his self-assured expression. He tolerates having his coat groomed, but he will positively revel in it if I shower him with compliments, especially exclamations of how handsome he is. He is convinced that everyone harbors a secret wish to be the son of a Golden Retriever and a Siberian Husky.

This dog taught me to go after my goals with all my energy. Watching an 85-pound dog launch himself from a boat to the bottom of a murky lake, 8 or 9 feet below, simply to retrieve a rock, is a revelation. If Eiger wanted to be a pearl diver, nothing would stop him. Even as a 10-year-old couch potato, he fetches a tennis ball on its thirtieth throw with as much wild abandon as the first throw. Relaxing is just as thorough. In hot weather, he sits on the air conditioner vent then, with a great sigh, he slides forward until his whole body reclines on the cool tile. If the weather is not too hot, he lounges in the patio doorway guarding the house and working on his movie-star tan.

Eiger has other endearing qualities as well. A tall person can pat Eiger’s head without having to stoop. If there is a bit of food I should not be eating, he is right there to take care of the problem. He thinks biting a human is for barbarians.

A dog gives life perspective. Eiger never criticizes me, never judges, never tells my secrets. He does not care if I am Einstein or a Kindergartener, as long as his food bowl is filled and his water clean, he adores me. On second thought, even if his water is not clean, he loves me. He makes my life immeasurably richer.


Anonymous Jan said...

So the animal was supposed to be you?

Nice essay! I miss my dog.

4:13 PM  

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