Wednesday, March 10, 2010


THERE IS A NATIVE AMERICAN MYTH telling the people that when the world was created, a great fissure began to split the earth. Humans were caught on one side of the chasm, animals on the other. The dog, however, seeing the gap widen, leaped across to the human side, where he has been ever since.

IT IS MARCH, only a week before the spring equinox; normally a time of rising temperatures with lows not as low as a few weeks ago. But not so today. An air mass from the Gulf of Alaska has slipped southward and it feels like January. Edward, the once-stray lab-mix puppy, has, in his year, grown into a full sized black dog. Now weighing about forty pounds, he is sleek and shiny, has a pleasant face, and is generally of good disposition. He stays on a pillow close by.

Working on my project, "The Curious Demise of Pug LeBreaux," I alternately sit at the computer to type and revise, and retire to the futon where I can recline and read, edit and reread the section I’ve just burnished. On this cool morning, Edward believes this is his time. Without asking, he climbs atop my supine body, placing his butt at about my knees, and stretches forward with his pleasant black face atop my sternum. There, he exhales twice or three times and, soon, is in some other realm.

Dog temperature is superior this morning to the temperature in my chilly office. I set my work aside, touch the velvet fur near his whiskers, stroke his head a couple of times, and when I awake, another twenty non-productive minutes have ticked by. Edward is still at rest atop me. I feel his soft exchange of air, punctuated by a quiver of a front paw followed by a muscle in his hip. His eyes begin to roll beneath their closed lids. Soon, still sound asleep, his body is a swarm of tremors and quakes and little paw twitches. He is chasing a bunny, stalking a squirrel or, perhaps, reliving the moment when his ancestor leapt across the great fissure.

WHEN I DIE, I pray that the last thing I remember will be a human touch: someone ushering me over to the other side, wishing me peace and wellness and asking me to be patient until her arrival. Short of that, if my final sensation could be that of an Edward or a Jax (the Aussie) or a Sadie (the boxer) loyally, lovingly next to me, keeping me warm as I journey across the divide, heck, that’d be okay, too.

© 2010
Church of the Open Road Press


  1. Not much that is better than a dog. Good post!
    we are taking a look at boxer pup this eve

  2. Life's best things (in order):

    1. A loving spouse
    2. A good whiskey and / or a good cigar
    3. A dog
    4. Enough pocket change for dinner somewhere