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

next meal.


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,

and freedom,

safe.






__________________________________
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
together, 

my last memory before sinking.




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