Oh, dog!

September 13, 2017 § Leave a comment


Oh, dog!

You whose name is God,

spelled backwards.

Which is fitting.

God, the great intangible.

Dog, who with nail-click,

familiar stink and scrubby fur

is tangible.

Times two.


God is omnipresent

while you, oh dog,

are simply present.

You live in this

roll in the grass.

This plate-lick.

This scratch between the ears.

May we learn

from your example.


Oh, dog!

You are not God,

but you exhibit his patience

with us, the impatient,

imperfect, improbable



Thank God, we pray.

But thank dog, we live.

Vacation, with dogs.

August 26, 2016 § 2 Comments

IMG_0503_edited-2At home, dogs are human.

They just happen to walk on all fours.

And wag.


Dogs are confused by elsewhere—it brings out the dog in them.

They have not learned the “nos” of a new place and they are not great at extrapolating the “nos” of home to, say, a rental on Cape Cod.

Chewing not allowed at home could be all right in this new place.

Busting out the screen door between now and checkout?

Possibly okay. Worth a try.

Or several tries. « Read the rest of this entry »

Good dog.

January 9, 2016 § 5 Comments

Moo in the meadow.We knew what we were looking for.

Another Australian Cattle dog like Moo.

Moo was the dog brought home by our daughter, Josie, who volunteered at the animal shelter.

Moo put her paws on Josie’s shoulders, stared into her eyes and said, “Get me out of here.”Maybe no one else heard it, but Josie did.

And we needed a dog, not at our house where we had a resident dachshund who owned the place, but for my dad who lived alone six months out of the year in New Jersey between winters spent across the street from us here in Tallahassee.

A phone call during those long summer months was answered by a voice rusty with disuse. The man needed a dog!

« Read the rest of this entry »

The Dog.

July 13, 2014 § 11 Comments

My friend John says, the day you get a dog the clock to heartbreak starts ticking.

And it’s true.

Get a dog and you commit to loving a member of a short-lived species. Not gerbil-short, but far shorter than your own expected life span.

Better to love a tortoise or a parrot.

And yet most of us choose a dog, because between the first tick of that clock and the last is an unconditional friendship not possible with a member of any other species, including our own.

Most of the credit for that belongs to the dog.

« Read the rest of this entry »

This is an old dog dozing on a sofa cushion.

February 8, 2013 § 13 Comments

Moo.This is also the companion who restored my father’s voice during the six months he spent alone in New Jersey each year.

Before Moo, when we called, his voice was rusty with disuse. After our daughter found her at the shelter and tricked him into adopting a dog his voice not only worked, it sounded happy.

This is also the grieving dog who helped us survive my father’s death by living out the loss with us.

This is also the good dog who, despite the nighttime trash knockdowns and a taste for cat turds has earned the irrevocable title of best-dog-ever. « Read the rest of this entry »

“My routine.”

June 30, 2011 § 9 Comments

Italian playing cards.

Those two words belonged to my Italian grandfather, Nonno.

My brother, sister and I rolled our eyes at the mere mention. Who would want to do the same thing over and over and over?

Plus his routine was so…routine. For exercise he walked laps around the kitchen counter (a hundred tiny circles).

He lay in wait for the mailman, and then, when he was sure the small truck had moved on, he would collect the mail, flipping through it as he carried it up the driveway.

This was the part of my grandfather’s routine that caused my mother to
get a PO Box. As a frequently-rejected fiction writer (a term which applies to any fiction writer) the double-disappointment of receiving that terse “not for us” and my grandfather’s sympathy, “Oh, Gloria! Rejected again. Why don’t you just give up?” was more than she could bear.

« Read the rest of this entry »

Dog brain.

November 7, 2010 § 7 Comments

I’m not sure how cat brains work, they hold their cards close, but to me their thoughts seem chilly, like an air-conditioned office.  When observed by a cat, I always feel as if I’m being judged by one of the popular girls in high school.

I’m a dog person.  I like the way dogs think.  Unlike cats, dogs wear their thoughts on the outside, like a T-shirt with a slogan printed on it in CAPITAL LETTERS.  Dog-think is bath water warm.  It’s relaxing.

« Read the rest of this entry »

A boy and his dog.

September 22, 2010 § 6 Comments

As a kid I yearned for a dog.  I just knew that if you wrote out one of life’s difficult questions and then filled in the answer-blank with, “get a dog,” you would be right nine out of ten times.

My mother’s death was the most difficult question life ever posed to our family, especially for my father who did not believe in the escape clause, “until death do us part.”  He had no desire to remarry.  He had three grown children and their children.  He’d make do with what family he had left.

After her death he spent winters in Tallahassee in the house across the street from ours, and summers “up home” in New Jersey.  When we called him there his voice was rusty from disuse.  “You need a dog, Dad,” I said.   He squeaked out the logical reasons why he could not have a dog.    « Read the rest of this entry »

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