I named my new dog 'Smalls' -
After Biggie ykno?
I was listening to 'Ready 2 Die' on my way to the Kennel.
I always loved that cd.
Its from somewhere primal -
Some place before pain differentiates into anger or sadness or fear.
When I found Smalls he was right there, and unapologetic.
Lying there on the floor, most of the young kids passed him by -
After all who wants a doggy that won't get up and lick your fingers.
Truthfully, I checked him out only because he Was within the weight requirements for my apartment.
Skinny with ribs showing, he was about 35 pounds, on a frame built for 50.
His ears were crusty with scabs from where the flies and other dogs had bit him.
An ugly, lumpy sore protruded from his nose like the stump of a unicorn's horn - a symbol of great pain.
I knelt to beckon him,
And he slowly crept up to my hand
With the air of one who has had his meals taken from under his nose.
Looking into his eyes I saw a sadness -
A sadness that I recognized:
Its the same feeling of meaninglessness that lets you slash your wrists, or strap bombs to your chest - or as in Smalls case, simply lay down and wait patiently to die.
Although i was leaving on a roadtrip that night, I resolved to take him with me right then.
I've not regretted my choice.
Smalls clings to me as though I intend to leave him any second.
At night he jumps into my bed and cuddles against me,
And by day he tries to reconcile insatiable curiousity with a need to stay near.
Right now he lies beside me -
It's late and he's not so good at staying awake.
His body twitches and kicks, and his face contorts into snarls.
Somewhere in his head he's re-living fights and beatings, disappointments and betrayals.
I'd wake him, but i can't bear to take any more from him.
I try to explain my attitude towards my friends - beast or brethren:
If you stand by me i'll stand by you until death do us part - amen.
Its more clear sacred to me than a prayer -
But in this world its understand hides inscrutable like the occult.
My dog has dreams.
He has dreams of the pain and suffering that have traumatized him.
He dreams of being left in the cold december snow,
And having to defend what little food and shelter he could scrounge up for each night,
Only to do the same thing the next day.
He dreams of being taunted, and marginalized, of knowing that passers-by didn't value him enough to even kick him while he was down.
He dreams of a very cold world - and the coldness surviving in it leaves within.
But i know that he also dreams of staying near his new friend,
Who feeds him till he can't eat any more and even offers some of his own meals.
He dreams of always being able to nestle up against my side and of having his chest scratched just so -
He dreams of hope the way a 7 year old child hopes - such a fragile thing.
Swishing Jim Beam in my mouth, I glance at his little body.
I know how cruel this world is.
I kiss the serpent to often to claim that i've no part in it.
Our pasts are dark and our futures uncertain.
But I have him. And he has me. And we have love. Right now.
And nothing can ever change that.
My Dog has dreams -
And so do I.