If I tell you I love you dear dog you’ll not theorize the matter. You know the difference between words and deeds. Feel it beneath your fur. And you have another advantage. You see what’s in my eyes.
You forgive me my moonless absences, seeing how lonely a man can be.
Then you put your head on my knee.
“I’ve a chin for your theories,” you say.
Once on a trip to Mississippi you got fire ants on your paws. I lay down with you in the grass and swept them off though I was stung. And we walked to a fountain where we soaked your feet. And I sat down with you and cried for your lovingkindness. For you just wanted to walk me back to our hotel.
If I tell you I love you dear dog you’ll say “I already know.”
Do you remember the time we went to the amusement park? I tried to coax you inside a huge, plastic “Jaws” shark’s head where we could be photographed standing behind the monster’s teeth. A gimmick. And you refused. I cajoled, called, tried my best to show you it was safe. But you wouldn’t do it. The photo shows you sitting outside the shark, looking disapprovingly at me for climbing inside the thing. I wrote below the photo: “Intelligent disobedience in action” and mailed it to Guiding Eyes.
I tell you I love you dear dog and you say “I know, but you’ve got to improve your act, brother.”
How many times dear dog have I been in meetings where your very presence beside me has kept me from despair? Amid faculty types, some of them so pathological they couldn’t achieve even a pyrrhic victory. Unctuous, but without the desire to ingratiate, the professors, all slick and smarmy cutting the heart out of a young scholar, denying her tenure. The academy which prides itself on being better than big business but is all too often just as greasy and soulless. Dear dog I’ve reached down to scratch your ears. Together we leave the meeting early, go outside, just go out.
I raise a song for you dear dog. I mean, I really sing it. We danced around the house. George Carlin: “Those who dance are considered insane by those who cannot hear the music.” But we hear it! Man! In the kitchen we’re altogether elsewhere!