DOGS ARE CUDDLY, lovely love creatures. They really are.
Dogs are just so many kinds of wonderful I’ve sat myself down, in the wee early hours of a day that celebrates photons, but long before a photon has dared appeared above the horizon, and opened my laptop to write an entire dang essay about these
nefarious udderly delightful creatures known as, well, dogs.
And dearest dad, I know “udderly” offends your licentia docendi.
Thank you for your email letting me know about that a while back, in response to an “udderly” utteration I uttered in an uttering. But if you can write two hundred poems in iambic pentameter about bunny rabbits, using words even the Oxford Dictionary has trouble understanding, then surely you can handle moose underparts as an adverb — and you know I really love my adverbs.
This is where one would do well to ponder the difference between a digression and a tangent, but I digress.
Anyway, it’s cats that I’d really like to write about. Cats are a whole other kind of lovely and cuddly — a lovely with LOVE written in all caps — and I really can’t have enough. Cats, that is. They are my heart and my soul, and life without cats is something I dare not ponder.
I love dogs. I love aardvarks. I also love reptiles. But dogs and aardvarks and reptiles a cat does not make.
This essay is troubled. If the former meandering was a digression, I’d say the latter is most decidedly a tangent, and so, once again, back to the dogs I really must go. Here, let’s just do it like this:
Dogs! Oh, dogs! Dogs!
That’s me copycatting (whut-whoh, cats again) a famous Japanese haiku written about a long-dead poet’s love affair with Matsushima in north eastern Japan. There’s a lot I could say about that, but for now I’ll just announce that I’m once again, and quite wholeheartedly this time, studying Japanese — and may I never stop.
And you can just go suck a wonton, you dastardly naysayer that’s pitched a tent on my left shoulder and keeps telling me I’ll never be able to say more than this, so why bother?
Hello! How are you? I like cats!
Wontons are Chinese, but they do have wontons in Japan, if you go to a Chinese restaurant. And I know haiku has seventeen syllables, and my Scooby Dumb dog haiku has four. But that’s rather kismet, don’t you think? Four? Four paws? I’ll bet if they run fast enough, you won’t even notice those missing syllables.
I’m hungry. What are wontons anyway? I’m honestly not sure.
We have four dogs, one for each paw. Haha, just give me some space here, folks. I’m doing my dandiest to write an essay about dogs without suddenly veering off track and mentioning the recent Keith Papini sighting in a local hardware store. What, he goes shopping and that’s news? I’m going to leave that one alone, so don’t bother asking.
The kanji for dog is a quick matter of this: 犬. Cats, on the other hand, get this: 猫.
It’s like the difference between a single scoop of vanilla ice-cream and a triple decker of gourmet raspberry soufflé, doused in a glistening drizzle of Belgian chocolate and topped with a sprig of mint.
But I do love dogs. I really do, and I loved the movie Must Love Dogs, and I even own the book. I especially love the four dogs that cohabitate with myself and my husband and our nine cats.
Don’t read too much into those numbers, by the way. This isn’t favoritism, not exactly when you consider how the cats were acquired. But this here is a doggone dog essay, folks, so let’s bookmark the cat segue for another (you know how this goes; maybe we should say it together) — essay.
And who has nine dogs? Who has nine cats for that matter? But cats are good at self-distribution so that you hardly know they’re here. They roost on the piano and open cabinets unassisted and tuck themselves deep inside. Two sleep on a shelf in my closet, while another two entertwine in the laundry basket and stay there in deep bliss for hours. And yet two more spend part of the day outside in a tree or under the deck, while various others nest in sinks and on top of the refrigerator and in a fruit bowl, content in their independence as long as food and water are available to them at all times.
Does that add up to nine cats?
The dogs, however. The dogs. The dogs are somewhat of an alien species to a cat person such as myself. But they do have their uses. For example, when it’s cold and the wood stove is done for the night and the back rooms are frigid and I can’t sleep. Just toss a doggy warmer or three under the covers, and I’m toasty warm in a flash. This does involve a rather intricate process of adjustment when all three are involved — the topic of a forthcoming essay I’ll tentatively call “Dogs and the intricate process of adjustment.”
And as for the fourth dog, she sleeps with the husband in another room. Yes, some married couples sleep in separate quarters — happy married couples who wouldn’t be happy otherwise.
And there’s this.
As it turns out, dogs don’t really need to be fed, not all of them, although I do feed them — grain-free, if you must know, and on schedule twice a day. But there’s this thing some of them do in the dog yard that’s quite disturbing. It’s best that I don’t elaborate just now, or maybe ever. But if I do one day decide to proffer up an elaboration, it will be in an essay called, “Dogs: The cost efficiency of a self-feeding species.”
This may be one essay that gets written down in my head and stays there. You’re welcome, mom.
As for the specifics of our canine menagerie — names, ages, ranks, breeds and backgrounds — this, too, shall have to wait, because I can see my word count just now, and since I’m likely to digress and tangerine a couple more times before concluding this blabbery, it’s best that I go ahead and treat this current installment as the first in a series of dog essays; hence, no need to expand on the verbiage.
If my husband ever leaves me someday, I may propose marriage to Spellchecker. I think we’d get along nicely. Tangerine is a wonderful auto-correct for tangentize, a word that should exist but apparently does not.
Yes indeed, there shall be more dog essays, heaps and heaps of them, and trust me: it’ll be even more tortuous to write than it’ll be to read, but more doggone dog essays there shall be. On dogs, just to reiterate.
Dogs! Oh, lovely, poo eating dogs! Dogs, gosh darn it all.
IT’S 1:19 AM and my husband just walked into my den (remember the moose that’s a bear?) and said, “You do realize you just wrote your entire essay wearing a headlamp, right?”
And on that sourly note, I bid you a good day.