April 13, 2016 § 9 Comments


He is more animal than our old cattle dog Moo, who, especially in her dotage, was a grandmotherly friend, a Grande Dame who had her own opinions, offered sympathy, and clearly understood English.

Moo was one of us, a human who had inexplicably opted to be quadrupedal.

She was highly suspicious of other members of her birth species, Canis familiaris. Reacting with fury over the audacity of other dogs who dared to wag over for a pat, she warned them off. We were her people.


Rudy is more alien than Moo, an acquired taste. All twitch and a tick, Rudy is fine-tuned to react to the flicker of squirrel or cat. Rudy rides the moment without past or future. Rudy just is.

Lacking Moo’s lush coat, he is sleek and bone-bumpy. It took some getting used to, scrubbing a hand over that modest coat. Sinewy and lean he is an anatomical drawing, a diagram of the muscle layer.


The shutter speed of the human eye is not fast enough to appreciate his agility. Caught in Ray’s rapidly-shot stills his feet rarely touch ground, his body is twisted into a position that could only be achieved in flight, lasts only a millisecond, and in most shots is still out of focus.

A stranger at a dog park identified him as a Feist, a loosely defined breed out of the Carolina’s used to tree squirrels.

The name “Feist” must have its roots in the word “feisty,” because Rudy is. He badgers other dogs into chasing him. He’ll bite your butt if you are holding the leash but not getting out the door fast enough.

Maybe there are others just like him, but for us Rudy is unique.

He is so different from our last great dog. We sound surprised when we remark how much we like him. But we do. More and more.

Every good dog has something to teach. Rudy is a lesson in inhabiting the moment. Humans are slow learners, especially when it comes to this lesson, but with every quick response he reminds us; pay attention!



And dogs learn from us too. Rudy is becoming more connected to us, more attentive.

Any day now I’ll look in his eyes and know we are pack mates. Given enough time he too may understand English.

Note: This is my second shot at this topic, but the last one was more Moo and less Rudy. Consider me one of those crazy ladies who will talk your ear off about her dog…

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