photo by Leeann Warner

. . . and highly premature. I’m still living and plan to be living for a while  longer.

I don’t know why Eve is such a drama queen, always expecting the worst. I once asked her and she said it’s because she’s Jewish. Let me tell you, that woman has catastrophe in her bones! She does make an effort, looks for my cheerful snoring face first thing in the morning, searches for signs of early spring, loves to open up windows and cause the rest of us to freeze to death, but actually, the woman has catastrophe in her blood cells.

And who’s the one who takes care of that? Who’s the one that gets her to look up at the sun and the sky, who takes her out on walks into the woods, who reminds her to remember the birds outside, to remember life?


I grin, I smile, I wag my tail, I chase after squirrels. I scrounge around for sunflower seeds under the bird feeders so that she could yell at me. I dig up old bones and bring them upstairs and shake the mud loose right in front of her onto the rug so that she could get pissed–because the wise ones among us know that there’s energy in getting pissed!

Now who’s going to do that for her once I’m gone? She threatens that the minute I go she’ll bring two new dogs into the house. No mourning, not even a shiva! If she does that you’ll hear from me from beyond the grave, I promise.

Why do I wear that stupid red Eddie Bauer winter coat when we go out? For her sake. She thinks she’s doing it for me, but in fact she has no idea who the true Bodhisattva is around here. We’re always doing things for you humans, but you guys think you’re taking care of us.

I let her take me out on walks in the coldest of days—I mean like: Say what? Do you really think that at my age I need to walk in 0 degrees, even in an Eddie Bauer winter coat? She’s annoyed, says Look at all the layers I have to put on to take you out, and I grin and wag my tail when I’m really thinking: You dummy, I’m doing this for you! Or going into the woods during shooting season for God’s sake, and wearing that ridiculous orange vest that won’t deter any hunter who’s not drinking too much from taking a good shot at me!

Or letting her take me to Leeann, where she sees a dozen crazy dogs playing rough—like at my age I really need Romper Room! But do I complain? Do I report her for abuse? No, sir, I wag my tail as Leeann marches me off to the horde, and as soon as that malamute scampers over I whisper: Shove off, Daisy Lou, even as I could hear Eve behind me thinking: Isn’t that sweet!

Does she know any of this? In fact, I pretend to be deaf so as not to embarrass her, especially when she’s singing to me or talking like an idiot: Come on, you pretty dog. Oh Stanie Mannie Shmannie. Oh love love love, doggie doggie dog. Disgusting, but do I let her know I can hear every embarrassing word? I do not. She makes up the most awful songs on earth, things she’d never tell you in her blog, you don’t want to hear the tune or you’ll get sick. Maybe one day when she’s not watching I’ll put it all on YouTube, I’m sure it’ll go viral.

And then there’s the other Zen guy there who leaves half his food on his plate and sneaks it down to me. Do you think I eat it because I’m hungry? Of course not, I do it to give him pleasure. Two Zen teachers acting silly, but you see, all that singing and feeding and purring gets the love out of them. It builds up affection and enthusiasm, gets those nurturing hormones working, and I know that’s going to lengthen their days even if they don’t.

Who do I do it all for? For her! For him! For them!

You know what I bring to her life? Delight. Da-light. I bring delight to her life1