August 13, 2005


In the Morning When Molly Rises

In the morning when Molly rises, I cannot control my tail. It wallops the wall, thumps the bed, and drums the armoire behind me. As I stumble sleepily toward her, cymbal sounds ring off the blinds. And Molly sings out my many names -- Cutie Pie, Honeybunch, and Sweet, Sweet Doggie Boy. A morning duet, played in percussives. Embarrassing, yes, and yet...In the morning when Molly rises, we wake the mice in the attic.

August 12, 2005


A Dog for All Seasons

We Labs aren't as cool as cats or nasty as rats or hot tempered as Chows with their alarming blue tongues. We aren't the biggest or the baddest or the smartest or the saddest. So how come we're at the top of the list of the number of dogs registered with the American Kennel Club?

One fellow says it's cause people have big houses now and want to fill them up with big dogs, like Labradors. He came up with other reasons, too, including our "lovely temperament." But then suggested the main reason was "cultural drift," whatever that is. Something about breeds falling in and out of favor over the years.

It makes me think of a powerful river streaming with all the different breeds, and humans standing along the shore calling out to us. And a large pack of Labradors, plentiful as winter geese, drifts in close to shore around a river bend. Being strong swimmers, we make it in to the people, who mightily embrace us and invite us into their vaulted, echo-y homes and tall, wide cup-holding vehicles.

But the swimming, drifting Labrador landfall is not meant to last, apparently. The current carries most of us off again and then some other dogs make it to the beach en masse, maybe tiny dogs for older people with brittle bones and small apartments. These people call and call the tiny dogs, and the pint-sized canines scramble over the backs of the drifting Labradors to the shore, where they settle on thin, quilt-covered laps or lose themselves in patterned sofa pillows.

So maybe Labs won't always be the most popular breed. Many might drift away as we fall out of favor. Mike says our puppyhood lasts too long, that we chew up too much furniture, that breeders have somehow hurt our hips. But here's what I think: Labs are the dogs for all seasons. We swim in the summer and hunt in the fall and sled in the winter and hike in the spring. People like us because we are what they used to be as children: strong and impetuous and charming and fun. We give them back to themselves. When the river of cultural drift takes us away one day, the humans along the shore will miss us more than they know.

August 06, 2005


Of Clones and Claws and Labrador Moms

When I first heard the humans had cloned a dog the other day, I didn't know what it meant. I know cone, like in ice cream. It's a nice word. But I also know claw, as in cats. It's a bad word. Putting the "cl" of claw with the "one" of cone seems strange and scary and as peoply as power tools. It just smells suspicious.

Then I found out "cloning" meant they somehow made an Afghan hound mate with itself by using needles or other hard, shiny tools. Next they squeezed the tiny same-self inside a Yellow Labrador mother dog. That's wrong in so many ways. It makes me want to lower my ears and hide behind furniture.

I lick my sad, empty sack, thinking about how people don't want too many dogs in the world. Then I think about needle-wielding, white-coat-wearing scary people forcing Labradors to bear puppies that look nothing like them, to make only the exact dogs they want and want and want. Humans always want. It's what they do most. If they come at me with their needles, my fur will rise. Or maybe I'll lick their hands, hoping they won't hurt me or other Labradors or other dogs with their death-like love.

August 03, 2005



Molly says we live in a doggist country, but I'm not sure. After all, most people I meet say some of their best friends are dogs. But Molly says to just look around me. Every you go, she says, there are signs saying "no dogs" this and "no pets" that. No dogs allowed in restaurants, in theaters, in stores, in office buildings. "They treat dogs like animals," she says. (I say nothing.) And then she says things are different in some place she calls France, which is apparently some kind of Doggy Promised Land, except for all the pooh on the streets.

She says maybe we should move to Chicago or Vancouver or Boston, which somebody says are the dog-friendliest cities in North America. But, me, I don't think dogs live in cities at all. Only humans do. I think dogs just live in places, which may or may not be in cities. Like my back yard, for instance, where there's often a possom in the tree with a hole in it. Also in my backyard: lots of seldom-seen and often-sniffed rats that scurry around in the two trees that poop big yellow and green fruits that fall on the ground and form fly clouds. Molly calls those mangoes. They're like dog pooh in France, except right in my yard.

There's lots of things to know along the sidewalk in front of the house, too. Like all the bushes and trees and curbs and hard road holes from which those mysterious racoony animals ascend in the twilight. (They make my fur stand up.) So, I guess I want human cities to be less doggist, like Molly says. But mostly I just want to be free to answer my pee-mail around the neighborhood.

August 02, 2005


In Praise of Newspapers

I discovered a terrible thing this morning: some dogs don't get a paper! All this time, I thought it was the right of every dog and now I find out even my buddy Sandy doesn't get a paper. This worries me, and Labradors are not easily worried. My human Mike has many, many worries. It's like his brain has a bad case of fleas. But now one of his worry fleas - the worry that fewer people are getting papers - has jumped from his brain to my brain. (This happens with dogs and humans; people should be more considerate about it.) Mike says people will someday only get their news off the Internet, leaving their dogs paperless and crestfallen.

The paper, you see, is so beautiful. It comes wrapped in plastic like porkchops. Except the plastic is covered in dew and sticks and grass. It's peoply and yardy as the same time. It's mostly white like a bone but soft and slippery on the teeth. It reminds me of something that's alive but trying to pretend it's not. It's just the right the thing in the morning when you're stumbly and trying to wake up. I doubt computers would like fetching the paper so much. And I doubt they'd bring in the sticks and bugs and dew, which the house and even the humans need in the morning.

August 01, 2005


The Dog Also Rises

A good day doesn't begin with a beep or a buzz or a bell or a radio drone. A good day begins with the sun slanting through the slats of blinds. It begins with a Labrador tail softly thumping on the carpet as the humans slowly awake. Mike calls these days the weekend, but there's nothing weak about them. They're the best dogdays. They're slow to start but as fine as a deep toilet drink after a long, hot walk.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?