Monday, October 13, 2008

Healing Power O' Dog. by Patresa Hartman


I love my dog.

Her name is Kaya, and I love her purity, her complete lack of complication. I love the smell of her feet and the soft of her ears and her wet wet nose. I love her keen observation and her unwavering enthusiasm for: walks, treats, the garden hose, the vacuum, getting up in the morning, air through the car window, policing the cats, and voicing her concerns to the collie mix that walks the block.

I love her loathing of all things grooming, that she is far more content to be smelly and knotted than peach-scented and blow-dried. I love that she will not submit to other dogs -- that they expect her to, because she is pretty and a girl, but she flatly refuses. I love that she feels no shame in her tastes and tendencies. I gave her an apple slice yesterday and she left it untouched on the kitchen floor. Hours before, I had shoo'd her away from the litter box where she likes to snack. She sees no trouble with this -- this preference for poop over apples -- and she doesn't care who knows it.

We're connected, she and I. Wherever I am, so is she. She looks at me so often with a distinct plea for "Next? What now? I'm waiting." And I feel such responsibility for her. Which is why Thursday afternoon, when I came home sideways and all out of whack, I noticed her own sideways lethargy and felt so sorry.

I am up to my neck, presently. It is inconsequential stuff and stuff, so I don't know why I bother to spin over it (such a waste of my joy); but there it is, regardless. My seams have been splitting, and literally, my class folders are spilling. Ungraded, unplanned, unorganized papers are getting caught in the zipper of my bag. I am forgetting everything. I am waking up early to collect my thoughts and then walking out the door without them. My dog is feeling it, too.

When I came home Thursday after several hours demonstrating the growing ineptitude I'm feeling, I noticed how sad she looked. How put out. How bored and dismissed. She sighed dramatically, and had she words, I believe she would have said, simply, "Park" or "Air" or "Run." I listened.

I changed my clothes and grabbed her leash from the nail on the porch. We climbed into the car, windows open, and drove thirty minutes to Jester Park where there are trees and trails and lakes and creeks. We parked near the sand by the water, and I left the leash in the car.

She ran.

She stopped occasionally to drop and roll in things that smelled bad, or to charge into the lake and lap water that looked contagious, or to pull large burrs out of her velcro hair. She paused momentarily to make sure I was still there, to change her course if I changed my course. But she always ran again.

Kaya smiles when she runs, and it makes me giggle. There is an exploding glee, a reckless, full-speed, balls-to-the-walls about her when she is given the world without limits. She finds great joy in the freedom to be who and what she is -- a dog on the loose in the wild. The beauty of our connection is that it balances us both.

5 comments:

Angie Ledbetter said...

She's gorgeous, sitting there adoringly in your shadow. My old gal Darla used to follow my every step around the house and outside too. *wistful sigh of missing her* Good dogs really do sense almost everything about their human BFF. ;)

Kathryn Magendie said...

I've the wistful sigh of missing my kayla, too, Angie, from reading this beautiful post...

Lisa G said...

This post has me heaving a great wistful, joyful with a tinge of sad sigh. I wish we were as uncomplicated as our amazing and wonderful dogs.

I'm wishing lots of breaks and treats and walks and room to run for you. Because you are amazing and wonderful too.

Barbara Quinn said...

Oh, yes.. Being happy while running. What bliss. What a cute doggie! And your bond is apparent. Lovely...

Barbara Quinn said...

Oh, yes.. Being happy while running. What bliss. What a cute doggie! And your bond is apparent. Lovely...

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