July 22, 2012

Lessons, Doggy-Style

I'm sure you've heard the phrase, "Once you go black, you never go back.".  And it's true.  There's something subconsciously dangerous about them, menacing even.  But, I can tell you for certain, my big love of a black, mixed breed dog is one of my proudest associations.  Moxie has taught me an awful lot over the years, but most of her lessons have come in the last several months.


Moxie in the Tub - 2008
She has impressed upon me that sometimes, unbridled enthusiasm can crack even the most unyielding facade, especially if it involves flailing and joyous butt-shaking.  There is not inherently weakness in expressing emotion.  For her, it is her strength.  Though, from her interactions on the front lawn of my new home, I learned that appearances are given more weight than I previously knew.  More than once, someone walking by her on the sidewalk would walk to the outside, or cautiously ask if she was mean.  To me, knowing she's such a gentle soul, it seemed like an absurd question.  Of course not!  This is the dog that won't even take a toy out of your hand and jumps if you raise your voice.  But, she has what might be rottweiler eyebrows, a big, confident bark, and is about 60 lbs of black fur and teeth.  My docile giant doesn't need to be viscous, she has perception to keep her safe.  Funny how that seems to translate into human terms sometimes.

Moxie is getting better at asking for what she wants, something that's taken me 30+ years to figure out.  I'm hungry, human.  My bowl's over there.  I'm lonely, I'd like to snuggle.  I hope it's ok if I cuddle with my rump.  I want to be able to look a the door in case someone comes in and I have to be ready to leap into action.  I know you don't like it when I relieve myself on the floor, so if it's not too much trouble, can we go out so I can potty on the lawn?  I want to be your good dog.

Moxie - 2012 (Photo by Steve Gray)
There.  That's it right there.  Her wanting to be *my* good dog.  Because I'm her entire world.  Well, at least the center of it.  Sure, there are others in it; the ex, his girlfriend, my former roommates, and now, Thunderhead and his boys.  But, day in and day out, I'm part of her life in one way or another.  And she *loves* me, even when I can't take her with me to work, or when I'm out till all hours.  When I come home, she's there, without resentment.  Sitting here, thinking about it, she's the only being with whom I've felt that level of trust and unyielding affection.  Oddly, it was her giving it that unlocked my affections for her in return.

I have always felt that I don't have the same emotional reactions or attachments as most, and that I'm not really good at keeping connections alive and healthy.  (For example, in 1986, when I learned that the space shuttle Challenger had exploded, I was mad that my after school cartoons were preempted for news coverage of the tragedy.)  Hell, Ephemily is based on ephemeral, meaning transient and fleeting.  Part of my identity revolves around the idea that I have no real anchor.  It took a 60 lb mutt with anxiety and cartoonishly expressive eyes to give me a glimpse of what "normal" might be.  She needs me, and in a way, I need her.  Moxie, I love you, you big, black bitch.


1 comment:

  1. She still ate my coat. Bad dog :)

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