I know that what’s going on in this country because of the grand jury’s decision in Ferguson is hot. I get it. I hate it, but I get it. I wish we as a people didn’t have to be in this spotlight or having this conversation. And I wish it wasn’t on my mind or so entrenched in social media because writing this blog post is stealing time from my other writing: working on my novel and meeting my 50K word goal for National Novel Writing Month. I’m sure I’m not alone. I wonder how many other writers have written thousands of words in the past couple of days about the subject of racism when they could have been adding pages to their fiction. Yet, that’s what we do as writers. We plead, we question, we inform. We grieve.
But dogs, on the other hand, don’t see race. They don’t question another animal’s motivations. When Izzy sees another dog, he thinks PLAYTIME. That word might as well light up in neon lights over his little head, because that’s what that dog represents to him. When he sees a squirrel, he thinks CHASE. Though he has become a bit smarter about that one and knows now that squirrels do that skip-hop-jump thing to the nearest tree and that they have little suction cups on their feet that allow them to run along telephone pole wires. When he sees a cat, he thinks ATTACK. Yup, I have a little dog that absolutely detests cats. He doesn’t know why; he just knows he does. They are the one animal at which he barks, and if he wasn’t leashed, I’m sure that poor cat would be mincemeat. Natural enemies. He doesn’t care what color they are or what their belief systems are, whether they have families or are nice, purring cats. They’re just cats.
Wait. Does that mean those who see another person who’s different from them are just like animals with natural enemies?
Nope, I’m not going there.
Let’s continue. Izzy doesn’t care about Nanowrimo either; in fact, when I’m on the laptop, the only thing he’s concerned about is why the laptop is taking up his space on my lap. Move over, you damn keyboard. Let me sit there. If I don’t finish my 50K words by the end of this month, it wouldn’t make any difference to him. He wouldn’t notice if I was depressed about not winning. Not on his radar.
But this morning when I woke up to the sound of hard rain against my rooftop, I thought: perfect. Bad weather = good excuse to stay in and catch up on my writing. Izzy went to the door, let me put on his Thundershirt (for the cold/rain), and when I opened the umbrella, I could see his eyebrows raise. Uh oh. Do I have to go out in this crap? Halfway through our morning walk, the rain became a downpour, tearing leaves off the trees in such a torrent that Izzy (checking out a place to poop) jumped and ran. From that point on, there was no calm moment for my little dog. He shivered as he tried to find just the right spot, kept looking around as if afraid the boogey man was under each leaf, and never did quite settle down enough to finish his business. He pulled me back up the street to the house, jumped over the rushing water in the street gutter, didn’t pause to sniff the piles of leaves my neighbors had blown yesterday, kept looking back at me as if to say, Come on, woman, I’ve had enough of this! And when we reached the back door, he darted in, then shook and shook and shook until I took off the soaked Thundershirt and dried him with the towel I keep in the sunroom. He’s been hiding on his bed ever since, and I’d be willing to bet my last dollar that even though he’ll want to go out again sometime today, he’ll give me that look right before we leave the door that says, Isn’t this stuff falling from the sky ever going to stop?