Saturday, June 24, 2017
Rick James, Ricky the dog.
I used to be painfully alone.
Then I got a dog.
I was less lonely but more stressed.
You see, my dog was a rescue dog,
and had no idea how to do anything
near, with, or requested by, a human.
Even the simple act of eating off of a plate
or out of a bowl was alarmingly bizarre
to him. He was frightened, hostile, and
confused by his surroundings.
Eventually, he mastered the system---and me---
and found a way to take it further.
He figured out that by using his paws to flip
his empty food bowl he could own me. It
became his metal hockey puck and he would
paw at it recklessly---and loudly!---slamming it
into inanimate objects all through the house.
He was relentless. His attention-grabbing
performance would not stop until I either
took the bowl and filled it, or set it up
somewhere high and out of sight until his
He would steal all the blankets, chew through
leashes, eat holes in asphalt, and routinely
gorge on grass until he was sick. He was like a
two year old sticking his tounge into
electrical outlets, dependent, and a danger
to himself in a way my son never was.
I felt needed, which was fantastic, and
occasionally abused, which sucked.
I read books on dog training, dog whispering,
dog obedience, and dog psychology. I don't
really think any of these actually helped
but they made me feel like I was doing
something. By the end of our time
together we were each happy and
felt deeply loved.
We had learned how to communicate,
to get what we needed. Our relationship
had progressed from vehement distrust
to active shows of gratitude.
He no longer pulled when were
out walking. Instead, he responded
to my every move like a mime,
sans creepy make-up and with
significantly less effort. He would snuggle
up near me in the house, and sit or lay
by my feet if we were out.
Waiters and waitresses
adored him and knew him by name.
Our favorite cafe would pack up a picnic
of coffee and cheese to-go and we would
walk down to the port. We would sit at our
favorite benches and eat, enjoying each other
and savoring our time out in the world. Some
days we would sit a little longer, watching
airplanes and birds and warming ourselves
in the sun before going home.
There was a hike by a castle up
a steep hill to a lookout point over the sea
that he loved. Once at the top, he would
commence drowning me in ecstatic dog
kisses, then stand on my lap, face pointed
into the wind, eyes closed...I was his
titanic, and he was standing
at the bow relaxed, content,
feeling the power of nature,
Dedicated to my dog, Ricky,
who was my everything.
In 2016 I was hospitalized in Spain.
He was placed in a shelter, as dogs are
when their owners can no longer
care for them. He was adopted, I was told.
I eventually recovered and returned to
the United States. I had to
leave without him.
The two of us at the top of the
lookout is the last time we were
my last memory before sinking.