Moving to Freedom, .Org

I can tell that we are gonna’ be friends

Something for everyone today — dog and cat people and lovers of interspecies harmony:

Morgan the Boxer and Sprite the Tabby

I wanted to title this post, “Look! Puppies!,” but as I looked for a photo to go with it, I ran across this one from 1999. This is Morgan the Boxer and Sprite the Tabby. Morgan has been gone for several years now, but Sprite is still with us.

The title suggested by this picture still works for what I intended to write about, though. Dogs! “Man’s best friend.” (Sorry, cat people. That is the saying. I’m not trying to cause trouble.)

We “lost” Morgan in 2006 to cancer, suddenly and so, so heartbreakingly. We loved that dog so much. And… hey! That brings me to the book I’m reading: The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein.

I’m about halfway through, and liking it. The book is narrated by a dog named Enzo, and it’s a lot of fun to see things through his eyes. But Enzo has this awful ability to take you to the saddest places. Which is fitting for a dog, I guess. They are so full of joy and sadness. Joy: Oh, they’re playing with me! This is so great! Sadness: Sigh. They’re not paying attention to me. I’m so lonely and worried and bored.

Here’s a sample of “Enzo’s” writing that I think will give you a good smell and taste of how it goes:

Mike took me to our house to get my things. I was humiliated when he said, “Where’s your dog?” I didn’t want to admit that I still slept with a stuffed animal. But I did. I loved that dog, and Denny was right, I did hide it during the day because I didn’t want Zoë to assimilate it into her collection and also because when people saw it they wanted to play tug and I didn’t like tugging with my dog. And also, I was afraid of the virus that had possessed the zebra.

The last line might not make total sense out of context, I realize. Immediately after this is one of those places where I thought Enzo would take us to the most depressing place imaginable, again, but instead there was a brief respite. (I think torturers use similar tactics.)

The rabid dog person that recommended the book to me said she’d be disappointed if I didn’t cry at the end. I hope I do. I almost never cry and it feels so good to let the tears out.

Reading the book is making me more self-conscious in my interactions with my own dogs. I’m still confident that they see me as a rock star, but maybe they have better critical thinking skills than I’ve given them credit for. They might be more observant and judgmental than I’m comfortable with.

But I know we’ll be friends to the end.