A Dog Ain’t Necessarily a Gentleman

Victorian Whippet by Michael Thomas

My love for creatures isn’t wholesale. 

For example, I don’t love a dog merely because it’s a dog, don’t love a baby because it’s merely a baby. Loving something just because in falls into category strikes me as indiscriminate.  

Oh, look at baby Putin, he’s so adorable. Coochie Coochie Coo, Vladimir. 

On the other hand, I have loved and do love individual dogs like Jack, Sally, Bessie, Saisy, Milo, Cosmo, Daisy, and KitKat because they cool, not because they merely possess four legs, sport fur, and love you unconditionally if you feed them and offer them the scantest attention.[1] I don’t love babies because they’re supposedly innocent or cute or whatever. I love babies with personality, party babies, babies with soul.  Like this one:

Grandson Julian

If you don’t like dogs – and some people don’t – it’s probably not a great idea to announce it on your Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn profiles.[2] For whatever reason, where I live dogs have risen in status approaching the parental love levels of demi-human.[3]  Sometimes. it seems to me that people who bring their dogs to bars consider their dogs alter egos, like the dog is an extension of themselves, a walking scarf, as it were. I suspect that some dog owners work all day and feel obligated to drag their shepherds and Boykins to Chico Feo or Lowlife for a modicum of stimulation and companionship for the dog while the owners seek human contact and alcohol. 

Unfortunately, today I had unpleasant encounters with three bar dogs. The first one, one of these ubiquitous poodle mixes (perhaps a waddle waddle doodle doodle) was lying underneath my stool and looked up beseechingly and me, so I addressed him as if he were human, saying something along the lines of, “How you doing, Buddy Roe,” and he immediately growled at me, showing his teeth. His owner, a dour faced woman eating an exotic dish, didn’t chide the dog, so I said to it testily, raising my hands with palms pushing outward, “End of conversation, canine.”

A bit later as I was leaving, my passage was blocked by two straining spaniels on leashes, held by an attractive smiling blonde, and when I tried to slide past them, they barked aggressively.

I stopped and addressed the dogs. “Look,” I said, “I come to this bar practically every day. This is my territory.” Then glanced at the woman and said, “I’m serious.” 

A Dear Abby suggestion: If you’re gonna bring belligerent dogs to restaurants, sit in a corner. 

On the way home, the light was beautiful as I walked down Cooper to Hudson to take KitKat out to pee, which she did indeed, happy but not overjoyed to see me. 

The cat, on the other hand, hangs with me in the study, now asleep he is, curled up like a black, hairy caterpillar. No way I’m ever taking him to a bar.


[1] I’m a slack ass grammarian and lazy to boot, so I omitted the verb here because most of the dogs are dead, though a couple are alive, and I didn’t want to clutter the sentence with the verbs “were” and “are” as in “because they are and were cool.” I could have used “be” as in “they be cool.” But you really don’t need it:

            We real cool. We   

            Left school. We

            Lurk late. We

            Strike straight. We

            Sing sin. We   

            Thin gin. We

            Jazz June. We   

            Die soon.

[2] Donald Trump isn’t into dogs, not to mention not being into his son Barron, or whatever his name is. Some people consider not liking dogs a character flaw, but I don’t. Not liking your son is a different matter. Trump’s father doesn’t seem to have loved him, which reminds me of these lines from Larkin:

Man hands on misery to man.

    It deepens like a coastal shelf.

Get out as early as you can,

    And don’t have any kids yourself.

[3] Parental here means ownership. Dogs have become like offspring, especially for single people, which is fine.

A Poem by Jason Chambers

jason dog

Here’s a kickass poem by a friend of mine, Jason Chambers, a cat who every morning clambers out of bed in the dark to encounter the dawn in a marsh or on a beach or some other natural setting unsullied by humankind. Afterwards, he posts a photo on Facebook, an appropriate quote from his wide reading, and usually a link to a song he deems appropriate. Once the plague is done, you can catch him at the Pour House when it hosts one of its poetry readings.

A poem by Jason Chambers, read by Wesley Moore

 

In the first month of this year
I saw a thing as pure and true as any
but did not then know what it meant.
I stood behind the Kings on the deck,
and though I could not see it,
Liz knew without looking that
Brian’s head hung for a
moment just a little too heavy,
his shoulders had dropped, just so,
wounded by the world in
some invisible way.
She reached her arm up and
around him to squeeze for a
moment one shoulder, just so,
and let her head fall on the other.

Four months later our neighbors
up the creek shoot day and night
at paper silhouettes on which they
can never quite find their fear.
The report hangs over the water
like a foretaste of despair,
and we are all the time being
urged to temper our hopes,
to be realistic, and practical.

But I have met enough dogs,
low, shimmying, tail-waggers,
squirming back-layers, and
all manner of face-lickers, to
know there is no upper limit
to bliss, and the line between
heaven and earth was never there,
and I ignore their advice.

Finally it is clear why God,
however perfect, chose not
to exist alone for even
one whole second.

Listen: everywhere musicians
sit in empty rooms yet play
and sing to thousands.
And my friend is for the first time
planting every inch of his farm,
the low field, the far field,
even the wet field.
He says, I’m going right up
to the house.
Whatever else happens,
we will all eat.

When Liz let go, they both stood
up straight, taller than before,
determined as only those
deeply in love can be.

We start from a place of joy,
and quiet astonishment.
We do not end anywhere.
We do not end at all.
Now is the barefoot season.
It cannot be taken away.

 

jason and me

Jason and me, Caroline Tigner Moore’s sunglasses, and a couple of All Day IPAs