animal, bond, brother, dog, dog blog, Edgar, family, fiction, FinderDog, Freud, German Shepherd, home, humor, Humphrey, love, Maggie, man, mother, Mother's Day, Mr. Bailey, mystery, narrative, orange boy, pet, photo, photography, photos, puppy, quest, quote, quotes, Sigmund Freud, sleep, woman
We are never so defenseless against suffering as when we love.
-Sigmund Freud, courtesy of litquotes.com
Edgar has arrived, dear reader. He has come to spend Mother’s Day with me. I was glad to have him, as Mother’s Day always makes me thoughtful. For so long, I was convinced that our mother was guilty of Edgar’s death, back when I thought of him as Orange Boy. (See “The Sun Sets on Orange Boy” and earlier posts)
My mother. She was beautiful, wasn’t she? She was powerful, fast, and agile. She was fierce, but she was loving, too. I remember her warmth and her rough affection. She wanted us to be tough, too. For a long time, I did not understand her. For a short time, after Edgar disappeared but before I was adopted by Man and Woman, I was a little bit afraid of her, despite the love I had for her and my dependence upon her.
She did attack Edgar, and Edgar was small and fuzzy and defenseless, as I was. I know now, and I try to understand–she was only doing what her instincts told her, which was that Edgar was the weakest–that he had been chosen, not by her, but by nature as one who would not survive. Thus, she would have ended his suffering and would have carried out a sentence which was not her own, but which was imposed upon them both.
Edgar arrived at my home after Woman and Man had gone to bed, and the two of us lay down together in the living room, cuddling as we had when we were young.
“Do you hate her?” I asked Edgar.
“No. For awhile I did. I could not understand what she had done, and I was on my own, just past infancy and without many survival skills. I believe, though, if she could see me now, she would think that I am much stronger than she thought I was then.”
“You’ve become stronger than any of us,” I said. “I don’t know where our brothers and sisters are, but I know that you are stronger than I am. She did not know what she did.”
Edgar whined and snuggled closer.
“Edgar, where have you been? I’ve been worried,” I told him.
“Let’s speak of it tomorrow, Humphrey. Is that all right?”
In answer, I snuggled closer to my brother and we slept as we had long ago when we were much smaller and our voices were much squeakier and the world was tinier and seemed perfectly safe.
Though neither of us had seen our biological mother in years, I had found another mother in Woman, as I had found a father in Man, though the relationships now were a bit more complicated. When I was young, they cared for me and taught me as parents should, but of course, now, I am their protector, and I know secrets that they do not dream of.
I thought of the special bond I shared with Man and Woman and how they even let me sleep with them on their bed sometimes. It was at those times that I particularly felt that warm, den feeling that I’d felt as a tiny puppy, surrounded by siblings and watched over by our mother. I felt sorry for Edgar, who had no permanent home and no Man or Woman, but could only visit those he loved, like me and perhaps Mr. Bailey and perhaps…Maggie. I understood, I thought, why he wanted to sleep one night in our home, curled up in family warmth that was only a memory to him on the eve a day meant to honor the bond between mothers and their puppies.
animal, bed, brother, Captain's Courageous, dog, dog blog, fiction, German Shepherd, holiday, Humphrey, man, narrative, New Year, New Year's, orange boy, pet, photo, photography, photos, play, quotes, renewal, resolution, rest, Rudyard Kipling, sleep, woman
It was the forty-fathom slumber that clears the soul and eye and heart, and sends you to breakfast ravening.
-Rudyard Kipling’s Captains Courageous via litquotes.com
Upon returning home from my holiday sojourn at a canine recreation facility, I find myself exhausted but satisfied. Is there any greater pleasure than rest and renewal after having exerted oneself in play with one’s friends? Dear Reader, I will confess that I was quite the favorite among the humans and dogs; in fact, one of the humans told Woman and Man today that I was a “social butterfly,” which I am sure he intended to mean that I was a courageous, masculine, yet very popular dog. I frolicked with my companions, supped beside them and slept the sleep of exhaustion with them, only to begin again.
Finally, today, Man and Woman came to collect me and convey me home. I was, of course, happy to see them and to smell where they had been and how they had been diverting themselves. Woman took advantage of my fatigue to bathe me very shortly upon our homecoming, but I will forgive her this. Man and Woman praised me and petted me, but I was beginning to pass beyond them, into a deep sleep.
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It was a very comfortable room, though the carpet was faded and the furniture very plain, for a good picture or two hung on the walls, books filled the recesses, chrysanthemums and Christmas roses bloomed in the windows, and a pleasant atmosphere of home peace pervaded it.
-Louisa May Alcott, Little Women
There have been further signs of the approach of Christmas and Hanukkah. Though I like these better than I enjoy Halloween, still they are filled with things not to be touched, strange events (tree inside the home) and visits upon which I am not invited. Our family celebrates both holidays, as Man’s family is Jewish, and Woman’s celebrates Christmas. There is a hint in the air this year–in the very tones of voice of Woman and Man–that they will be traveling this Christmas. Reader, I can read them very well by now. They talk excitedly to one another, and then look at me sadly, regretting that they cannot bring me. Of course, they can bring me, but they have bowed to social conventions which dictate that they cannot. Alas.
I will be taking a sojourn of my own to the dog vacation facility I visited not so long ago, and will be spending a week some dear old acquaintances, frolicking outside during all the daylight hours, and sleeping soundly in the evening, surrounded by the comforting smells of my weary companions. This will be delightful, though I am always a bit anxious over my people when the are not in sight, and would prefer to guard them always. Now, too, there is the added worry of what will happen to Edgar, and whether there is added danger to him in my absence. I must accept my lot when I cannot change it, and protect all my dear ones as best I can.
One thing which makes these holidays better for me than others is the gift-giving. Woman and Man exchanged early gifts with one another tonight. Woman had gotten Man a terrible device which he had often admired and which he had thought might amuse us both.
It is a helicopter. I am not certain that it amuses me, exactly. I long to catch it and gnash it with my fearsome teeth. This longing fills me up and I bark and leap and watch the helicopter reproachfully. I will own, it is exhilarating to chase the helicopter about and I enjoy seeing Man’s delight as he learns to make the device respond to his commands.
In their joyful anticipation of the holidays and their trip together, Man and Woman did not forget me. How could they? They gave me an early gift as well. They let me unwrap it myself, which I did with alacrity. Then, Man opened the promising container and gave me…a little hot dog (not a canine, never fear, Reader)!
The hot dogs were delicious (and there are more in the refrigerator!). Worn out by the excitement, I lie now, drifting in and out of a peaceful sleep. In my more lucid moments, I can’t help but feel a twinge of guilt that I enjoy these cheerful proceedings while my brother, Edgar, lives a life devoid of these comforts, so far as I can tell. I hope that I shall have the opportunity to share some of my good fortune with him–including the hot dogs. I must go, as I feel sleep coming again, though I almost feel I ought to muster some alarm, as I can see that gleam in Woman’s eye which means that a bath is in my near future. I will worry over these things only when they come, and will lose myself in the warm fog of sleep until I wake–whether to bath, helicopter, treat, or gentle pat.
There was a good deal of laughing and kissing and explaining, in the simple, loving fashion which makes these home festivals so pleasant at the time, so sweet to remember afterward
-Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women
Those with the greatest awareness have the greatest nightmares.
– Mahatma Ghandi
It was during those initial months at my new home that I started to have the nightmares. The nightmares made my legs jerk and I whined in my sleep without knowing it. Sometimes I woke to find Man and Woman bent over me, concerned. When they saw my eye open, they would make comforting noises in their language. They did not know what the nightmares were about.
Orange Boy walked my dreams. I saw his face, so like my own. I retraced again and again the haunted path from our safe enclosure to the carpeted room which had been our last, greatest discovery. The nightmares always ended the same way, with the sound of Orange Boy’s whine outside the enclosure and the scratching of his nails on the raw wood.