Break The Rules [on Not So Flawed Wednesday]

When the tornado sirens sound, we have to carry Dogga to the basement. He doesn’t do stairs. It confuses him since he is hard-wired to take care of us. That we snatch him up and hurry into the basement leaves him discombobulated. In the basement, the essential borders to protect become unclear. He paces. The behavior of his humans signals a wolf is approaching but where’s the necessary line of defense? The rules are different in the basement.

Brad and Jen have a new puppy. They are diligent in their training. We confessed that during the pandemic, we’ve “ruined” Dogga. We never allowed him to beg or fed him scraps from the table. During the long dark days of isolation, we tossed all the rules. We breached every training boundary. He’s a smart boy so he knows the difference between snack time and dinner. Dinner remains off limits (mostly) but snack time is open season for begging. And, who am I kidding, he doesn’t need to beg. He sits between us at the table and waits for a steady stream of cracker bits to find his open muzzle. The metaphoric tornado came, we retreated to our safe place. Different rules.

This pandemic tornado is in no hurry to leave. And, haven’t we all been changed by it? Whether we acknowledge it or not, we are in the basement now. New rules apply. New realities are in play. The essential boundaries are unclear.

Just as was true before the tornado arrived, Dogga gives world-class eye contact. He reads our eyes to suss-out where we are going or how we are feeling. Sometimes I think he knows how I am feeling before I do. And, although we are in a hunkered-down world of new rules, the most important relationships remain the same. If he wants out, he establishes eye contact; the intensity of his stare and his nod-hint-to-the-door educates his too-slow-humans that the squirrels have breached the boundary. Action is required! I am captivated by those amber eyes and comply with his wishes every time. In-out-in-out. Kerri is made of stronger metal and responds with authority to his intense stare, “You can wait,” she says. The intensity drains from his face and he retreats to the comfort of his bone. I count to twenty and ask, “Do you want to go out?” Kerri shakes her head. Some old stories transcend the new basement reality and are, and have always been, about the complete absence of boundaries. A boy and his dog.

read Kerri’s blogpost about DOGGA EYES

Blur The I [on Not So Flawed Wednesday]

We capture quotes all week. Some we see. Some we hear. Some find their way into the Melange. Most do not. We usually note where we heard or found the quote so we remember the context. It’s a practice. It’s not as if we are perpetually eavesdropping on conversations. We’ve simply tuned ourselves to immediately write the amazing words and phrases that catch our attention.

A common phrase is mind-over-matter. Athletes and actors and dancers are conditioned to ignore the limits of their bodies. To keep going. The mind as master over body. I loved this quote because it is the flip side. The mind, the “I”, wanted to stop but the body did not listen. It kept going.

Lately I’ve been reading about – so, paying attention to – the false separations that language necessitates: Mind and body are spoken of, thought of, as separate things. And, the question is this: where does one begin and the other end? Mind over matter. Body did not listen. I made myself do it. Once you start listening for it, it is ubiquitous. Exactly where is the line between “I” and “myself”? When your toe is in pain, isn’t your whole body is in pain? Follow your gut. What does your heart say?

When Dogga gets excited, his little body bounces. He runs in circles. He has to work hard to sit still. Say, “Do you want to go…” and he’s bouncing before the words “on errands?” reach his ears. He knows he won’t actually go on errands until he first sits on the rug. Eventually, he bounces his way into compliance. Control follows unbridled enthusiasm. Control is a means to an end. Rug before errands. Sit before snack.

Dogga might say, while bouncing enthusiastically, “I wanted to stop but my body kept going!”but I doubt it. Given his unified happy spirit, I’m certain the phrase would come out of his muzzle this way: I wanted to stop but I kept going. Watching him is like reading the I-Ching: no separation.

read Kerri’s blogpost about I AND BODY

Think On Thee [on DR Thursday]

I memorized Sonnet 30 for an acting class when I was in school. “When to the sessions of sweet silent thought…” For reasons I can’t explain, I still remember it. I can barely remember my zip code but Sonnet 30 has stuck around. “…I summon up remembrance of things past.”

I watched Dogga this morning. Standing in the middle of the yard, barking for friendship’s call. He’s not been the same since BabyCat passed. He’s still trying to find his place. Each morning after breakfast, he returns to the kitchen and lays on the floor. It was his ritual with BabyCat. They’d mooch some bites and when there was no more hope of food, they’d jump down and snooze together in the kitchen. Now, he assumes his usual spot but only for a few minutes. It’s not the same so he moves to the backdoor or the rug in the living room.

He’s always been a snow dog. When we think it’s too cold to go out, he thinks it’s balmy and perfect. After his daily unsuccessful bark-and-response, he finds a good pile of snow and lays in it. I tell Kerri that he is surveying his vast territory. He’s an Aussie so he likes having a job. Surveying the territory, watching for marauding squirrels, provides purpose. There is no more joyful moment in our house than when it’s time to take out the trash. He loves being the advance team. He leaps vertically at the back door, his joy is too great for his little body to contain. Clearing the yard of danger, I have safe and secure passage to the cans and back to the house.

This morning, as I watched him snuggle into his snow pile, Sonnet 30 rushed to the fore of my mind. “But if the while I think on thee, dear friend, All losses are restor’d, and sorrows end.”

read Kerri’s blogpost about SNOWDOG

all my loves © 2020 david robinson

Obsess [on saturday morning smack-dab.]

I’d never heard of Munchos until I met Kerri. I’d never pulled all of chip bags off the shelf at a store in search of Munchos until I met Kerri. I’d never been escorted out of a store by the police because of a Muncho search until I met Kerri. And, to make this fun, only two of the last three statements is actually true. Let me just add that the police were kind. Evidently, the officers that came that day appreciated Munchos as much as Kerri.

In reviewing the past several weeks of Smack-Dab, I see how snack-driven we really are. I’d have denied it outright before today. Dogga is completely food driven and you know what they say about people and their dogs. Dogga was in the car during our Munchos near-incarceration. He pretended that he didn’t know us though his deniability was questionable since he was in our car and had a collar with our phone number chiseled into it. The police were kind though. They cautioned him to keep a better eye on us and to forbid us from going back into the market. And then, they gave him a treat. Not a Muncho-treat. Those were nowhere to be found.

read Kerri’s blogpost about MUNCHOS!

smack-dab. © 2021 kerrianddavid.com