Sunday, September 16, 2007

One Good Dog

Clement Park looks as though a tornado struck.

And in truth, it wasn't far from it. Okay, maybe that's a bit of an exaggeration, but when the storm hit this afternoon, its sole purpose seemed to be to wash away all that had gathered there over the past three days. The rain was thick and heavy, and from where I watched in my window, I knew it was the kind of rain that slaps and hurts when it falls. A real leaf shredder. The sky got very dark very fast and within minutes Bowles Avenue looked like the Colorado River, four lanes of raging water between the curbs; I wouldn't have been surprised to have seen rafters paddling with all their might to keep from being swept away.

The tents and booths came down with surprising speed, and people scattered to their cars in a near panic. It was like one of those scenes in a disaster movie where the tiny Japanese people run and scream ahead of the advancing monster. Except these were suburbanites afraid of getting their SUVs wet.

If I'd been outside it wouldn't have been nearly as fun to watch.

Later Duncan and I ventured over and if you could see it, my tornado analogy wouldn't seem quite as dramatic: folding chairs have been scattered across the tire-track ravaged fields, garbage cans have been overturned and refuse blown everywhere. Popped balloons and what I'm hoping wasn't a discarded condom were scattered amid the shrubbery and in the low branches of the piss elms.

Duncan and I jogged through the mess, and I kept him at a nice trot to avoid the fiasco that was last night's walk. No discarded deep-fried Snickers for my boy. Nor turkey legs or corn cobs. He's strictly a Science Diet dog, with the occasional corn chip thrown in every now and then.

Despite being kept on a short leash, he was quite happy to be out. It's as though his entire day is lived in anticipation of his hour walks at the park. I wonder what he thinks the rest of the time: that we don't love him? that we're punishing him? that he liked that big yard with the fence and his friends Daisy and Maddie better? It's hard not to feel guilty. Our apartment is bigger and brighter than that cave we lived in at The Breakers. I thought Duncan would like it more. The cats certainly do. The windows are low, and it would be easy to lounge in front of them, moving slowly to keep up with the teasing rays of sunlight. But I don't think he does that. Instead I think he lays under the bed, which seems miserable to me, but which he obviously likes.

He is my reward and I am blessed to have him. I only wish there was more I could give him and do for him. We walk and walk and jog and throw the ball and come home and play with his numerous toys, but it's not enough. I want to give him a long wide field that smells of mint and Russian Olives and pine and let him run and run and run some more, chasing squirrels and rabbits and dragonflies. After all he's done for me, it's the least I could do for him.

I live to make him smile.

They say you get one good dog in your life; I have mine. I only hope I'm a good enough human for him.