Friday, June 15, 2007

In Medias Res

There was no way to ever guess I would one day have a dog small enough that she could fit her entire tongue up my nostril. I am not a small dog person. Just as I am not an Italian driving moccasin person. Or a golf person. These are the things that make you who you are, or who you'd like to think you are, which is more to the point. These are code, or a military uniform, which you do not don to serve a government with which you do not politically agree.

Small dogs used not to occur to me as dogs, really. I could never say this out loud, but I would think it of those rodent-like creatures whose hair mopped the floor and whose tails were a counterbalance for the face end, if you could even tell them apart: Freak, I would silently mouth. A dog, on the other hand, was a minimum of forty pounds, and you could see their eyes (nor were rubber bands with little bows on them required to hold back their hair so you could do so). A real dog did not squeak. It was not an ankle-biter; if it wanted, and you deserved it, it could reach a far more critical piece of body farther north. A real dog was like Lassie, or Rin Tin Tin, but was even better if it was not a ward of the AKC. A real dog was my Mercy, who had up and died on me and ripped out my heart in the process.

Which is why, when I got Nelly (not as a replacement; there could never be a replacement), I kept waiting for her to get bigger. When would she hit twenty-five pounds, thirty? Goodness, she was coming up on a year and she was still under twenty! Clearly, I needed to feed her more. Finally she grew so wide, though no taller, that the vet issued stern commands. Nineteen and a half, and no more. That was Nelly. She was going to be, resolutely, who she was--and who might that be, o eternal mystery?--and no other. She was going to make me change my mind. About a lot of things.

5 comments:

janet harrington said...
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janet harrington said...

Nelly's *pack* is a group of very big dogs....a 100 lb. labradoodle, a leonberger (over 100) a flat coated retriever and a shepherd mix.
Even though Nelly is 20 lbs, she is very much a big dog at heart and might even be the leader of the pack. This is no lap dog with a barrette in her hair....
Again, Janet
starting to get it

Jolanta said...

Just be glad you didn't accidentally get a Chihuahua -- then you'd really have to eat some small-dog crow.

David said...

The key to understanding dogs is understanding their human 'partners.' Don't say owners -- there is no slavery in the human-dog connection.

So what does Nellie tell us about Melissa. Intrepid, certainly. Charming, absolutely. Determined, beyond any doubt. Possessed of interesting passions, oh, yes, but I may not comment further on this topic.

I invite others to explore the Melissa phenomenon as a way of commenting on the Nellie mystery.

Tony said...

I once thought like you about small dogs until I got Jupiter. Jupiter is 16lbs,but could be 400lbs because of his personality. He is the most brillant dog that I ever had. The only problem is a criminal mind. Jupiter is a food stealer, pick pocket, and a scam artist. He is not afraid of anything and will figt with big dogs. All small dogs are not alike.
Tony