Monday, January 26, 2009

A Dog's Life, January 26, 2009

Prompt: Write from his point of view.
(His name is Ringo.)


Carol Henderson said...

In a workshop, I wrote from the point of view of my old golden retriever, Daphne, who sometimes can’t walk well anymore. (This was written before she died last summer.)

My Hind Legs
OK. So she had to give my bony blond rear a boost into the back seat because I couldn’t hop in by myself but, who cares? Getting in the car means going somewhere, my head out the car window, a zillion smells blowing up my nose. So what if my rear quarters shake?
She cares.
“Oh, honey,” she says, “I’m sorry.”
I’m not. We’re in the car and she’s got some idea and I’m drooling with joy.
She’s always got plans for me—she rubs me down with a towel when I’m wet, lathers my neck with perfumey soap when I’ve rolled in something delicious, and makes me come in from my yard when I bark, well she tries to make me come in. Even if I’m just talking to a neighbor or reacting to a tree branch cracking in the woods—one or two yelps and she’s at the door.
“Come in, Daphne. Now.”
Sometimes I listen to her and go in. Other times I zag away, just out of reach. That gets her going about how her beloved Molly never disobeyed. The only time Molly didn’t come in from the yard when called was the time she was dying and couldn’t get up.. Molly, the saint. How many times have I heard that? Well I say Molly the fool. If you’ve got something better to do when they call you, do it.
Anyway, I’m trotting over to get one of my rocks or nosing around in the ivy for one of my hairless tennis balls and my hind legs gimp out. So I just lie around in the grass for a while. I don’t mind. But she does. She gives me pills to chew and shoves others down my throat.
She keeps talking about the time I was out visiting Magic and Peaches and my hind legs went. My friends sniffed me all up, and were, like, get a grip girl we’re running up the hill and to the pond for a swim. You’re usually out in front. What’s with you?
But I couldn’t move. She picked me up that time.
“It’s so sad when they get old and decrepit,” her shrieky friend said. “She’s a big dog to have lived that long.”
Stop, I’m thinking. I’m fine. I’m always fine.
But I guess I fit the family profile now. They’re always saying: We do the best we can with what we got, which ain’t much.
She called me to come up the stairs the other day and I stopped at the landing. That feeling again, more like no feeling. And she came down, scooped my big body into her arms, and carried me all the way.
“Oh Daphne,” she said, stroking my ears. “You’re losing your hind legs.”
Now I’m stretched out on the kitchen floor in my usual obtrusive spot and she’s talking, looking over at me, all worked up. I’m just licking that big bump on my front leg. She is concerned about all my lumps. I’m not.
I stare at her, determined.
It works. She says, “Come on girl let’s go for a walk. ” I’m out the door, draggy and stiff, but I can still run, even if I am lopsided.
“Don’t overdo it,” she says, as I head down to the creek bed by myself to find a rock. Perfect life.
When she gets all fretty and freaked that my back toenails drag on the sidewalk, I just look at her like “woman, there are bushes to sniff, rocks to unearth, and sunny spots out in the yard for napping. My tongue’s out and my tail still wags.”
What is all your fuss about?

Bill Reddy said...

Finally she let me out of that car. Look at these woods. I can smell a thousand different things. I’ve got to explore. I’ve just got to explore.

Uh-oh she’s giving me one of those looks. Oh my god, she wants me to come back to the car. She’s gonna put me in that little space again.

I want to obey; I know she’s going to get angry if I don’t obey.

But, but what’s that smell? It’s a kind of squirrel I’ve never smelled before.

I’ll come half way. Let’s be careful here and not get to close or she might grab me.

I’ll look very innocent. Oh dear, she’s pulling out that leash. She’s taking a step toward me. I’m outta here!

Ahh the woods. No one can run as fast as I can. I can smell a squirrel really near by. There it is!!!! Ok squirrel meet your maker! Darn! Look how fast it went u p that tree.

Uh-oh now she’s calling to me. She sounds nice but I know she’s angry. Waving around one of those crummy treats she always has. Treats! Been there done that. I WAANT FREEDOM. I want to feel the crisp wind rushing through my flapping ears. I want to smell the dead leaves and mushrooms, the owl scat, the deer hoof prints, the wild and crazy package of this forest.

It’s incredible how fast I can run if I want to. Those humans haven’t got a chance of catching up. Mom always said, “You’re a real Labrador. You disobey whenever you want to.” Course I am kinda hungry. The woods are long on smells, but short on real food.

Alright I have to go back at some point but not yet!!

Look over there - a Pond! With a thin layer of ice on it. That’s my favorite! I love to dive through the ice and crunch it to pieces!

CRASH!!!! Ahh that feels good. I love the way that icy water seeps through my fur. Yoweee that’s energizing. Makes me wanna swim like crazy. Makes me wanna get out too. Okay now for a really good shake. Shaka-shake-shake-shake. Now, maybe I’ll go try to get one of those treats after all.

The end

Michele said...

Brutus, Ringo’srelative.

My name is Brutus and I am a relative (canine ) of Ringo’s . I trust he will not mind my writing about my life – it is probably somewhat like his has been. It is such a relief to be able to tell some of my story. I never had the chance before.

I am writing from Doggie heaven, Pug subdivision, dog park. We have an outstanding group here – world famous pugs and family famous pugs like me.

I can assure you I was adored and fussed over until my last days. People would come to the house and shriek “Oh Brutus! You are the cutest thing “ And one guy carrying a book bag and with fuzzy hair who was walking down Broadway in New York City stopped still in front of me and stooped down, crying out “A pug! A cartoon dog.” I wasn’t sure what that meant but he was so friendly, I felt so warm and appreciated that I brushed up against him to try to show him how I felt.

I was abandoned by my first owners – not in the traditional sense, - they loved me too. The story is worse: they were divorcing because she had contracted a disease and her husband – and maybe she – had agreed to split. I cannot imagine how they worked it out. I was just a puppy.

However, for me the story is better than for them: I was chosen to go live with a family in New York City – they came to check me out first and then I rode in the back of a station wagon with my new child friend, Mike and his mother.

Mike was a little afraid of me which, to this day I cannot imagine. I was very gentle and very happy to have someone more my size to play with. He did eventually hug me and I burrowed into his side when he would sit on the couch. In case you don’t know, that’s what we pugs do – we don’t sit on laps – too prissy. Instead we like to lie next to your thigh and readjust now and then. That means get up and down. Boss mom kept trying to get me onto her lap. Boss dad understood.

At first, they let me sleep on Mike’s bed and I would move to their bed some nights. But, the boss mom thought I moved around too much and its true- we do snort some – it’s the way our noses are made. So it was back to the crate. It wasn’t so bad. That’s how I had begun my life and it was familiar for me and safe.

One day, Mike had a party for my birthday – Jack and Toshiro and Hannah all came and guess what – they all squeezed into my crate and I was outside looking in. That was pretty funny. I thought they should stay in there and I could just sleep in Mike’s bed – not a chance. They brought me a rubber hamburger for a gift –“where’s the beef?” I said.
But the most outrageous thing of all that I will never forget is when they got a cat. A tabby, they called it; his name was Miguel Pinero and he was orange with a striped tail. The boss Mom had never had a cat and she loved him when he was a kitten – not more than me but still. . . Mike brought the damned cat home from college – he had lived with a bunch of boys – oh what a joy that must have been!

At our house in Dobbs Ferry, Mike left “Pino” with Boss mother and father while he went off visiting friends and just being a graduated big shot. I knew him when.

Now, there I was having to share the house -- for a whole year with this cat. And I was getting older and couldn’t run the full the circle around the house like I used to.

That cat was a menace! He would sit on a high chair in the living room –even in our country house he would do this – and wait for me to come by. I was walking a little slower then and at first I didn’t see him and all of a sudden I would hear a “woosh” and he would plop down just at my tail – boss Mom would laugh and so would boss Dad and I was really mad. But the worst was yet to come.

I had to wear a harness instead of a collar. They thought it would help my breathing and snorting. Frankly, I think they just liked the red or blue color of it against my lovely fur coat of tawny beige.

So, can you guess what that cat would do? . .he would ambush me by hiding behind a chair when I came by , jump at me and catch onto the underside of the harness and my belly! He wanted to ride! That’s one of the few times that I really snarled at him – he got off pretty fast. But he kept trying. I was very glad to see him go to live with Mike’s girlfriend.

The end came one summer—2006 – Mike and his girlfriend came to stay with me while Boss Mom and Dad went on a trip. I was sick. They could see. I kept bumping into furniture and once or twice I just fell down. And I didn’t eat much and what I did…well…it was not a pretty picture.

When Boss Mom and Dad came home, she tried very hard to take good care of me. Dr. MacKenzie was so nice to me and to her. He explained what he could do and I did have one of those sono. . . sono- it was an expensive test. I could hear her talking to boss dad on the phone and he let her spend the money to give me the test. She needed to know she said.

Dr. M said I had something very wrong with my stomach – I didn’t need him to tell ME that. He said he could put me on steroids – like an NFL player that boss Dad used to talk about. But down deep we all knew it was time for me to come here.

I know she felt worse than I did. Mike almost missed my last day – stupid graduated kid. He cried when he saw me at Dr. M’s office. I miss them all and I know she misses me the most because she called me her kitchen companion (I never left her side when she was cooking). And why else would she buy herself a Pub calendar every year?

Carol Henderson said...

Love these pet point of views. It's fun to write from the p.o.v. of things like chairs and watches and trees too-not that mere objects can compare with Brutus and Daphne and the squirrel-crazy dog. But they will speak too, if you let them.

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