Saturday, June 17, 2006

Un-Dead Like Me

First, I'd like to thank all my fans and friends for holding me in the light, as our friend Katie puts it, during my recent illness. Your thoughts and good wishes helped buoy me and my moms up during some dark and scary moments. I don't know if love can heal a body, but it sure does a soul good, and we all felt surrounded by love in the midst of great uncertainty. Thanks to everybody for hanging in there with us. Here's some information on canine pancreatitis for those of you who might be interested or concerned.

My moms were amazed at the way I bounced back this week. My aunt Isa came and took care of me over the weekend while my moms made a quick trip to New York City for our friend Maya's bat-mitzvah. Aunt Isa prepared wonderful food that made me delighted to be eating again, and she used a number of extremely clever techniques and ruses to get me to take all the horrible medications I was on for pancreatitis. By the time my moms came home Sunday evening, I was almost back to normal. By Wednesday, I was acting like a puppy again, barking my head off for no apparent reason, eating with gusto, and playing in-door fetch with Moose in the long hallway that runs from the great room to the front door. Moose is a little concerned about the fact that in the past couple of days I've been drinking a lot and tinkling a lot, despite not being on Lasix at the moment. She's worried that I might have developed diabetes, which can happen after pancreatitis, so she's keeping her eagle eye on me again this weekend. Goose and I roll our eyes and say, "Well, worrying is one of Moose's jobs. Let's go outside and play."

Humans might be wondering if my brush with death carried me to the threshold of any wisdom or revelation. Dogs don't tend to see near-death experiences in such cosmic terms. My primary focus last week was trying to find places in the yard where I hadn't already vomited or had an explosion of diarrhea. Fortunately, we have a very big yard, so that wasn't difficult, which left me with a certain amount of time for brink-of-death revelations and visions. Here, in no particular order, is what I saw:

1. Dick Cheney really is the anti-Christ. He would eat small animals raw for breakfast if he thought he could get away with it, and since he got away with shooting one of his best friends in the face I'm thinking someone should keep an eye on him at the breakfast table.

2. Politics in the U.S. has become another form of infotainment. Citizens have tuned out because the "info" part is mostly lies or posturing or spin and the "tainment" part is less fun and compelling than even the cheesiest of the fake competition shows on TV. Bush's "Mission Accomplished" moment grows more ruinous to his presidency with every drop of blood spilled in Iraq. Deep in their hearts, viewers know that the spectacle is meant to distract them from the lies, the blood, the hundreds of crimes committed in our names.

3. Small bites of food are sublime when you haven't eaten in nearly a week. My brother Geoffrey fed me tiny bites of grilled chicken from his hand after I got home from the clinic last Friday. Moose kept saying, "In twelve years the only rule we've ever managed to enforce is that we don't feed the dog out of our hands or at the table," but she had a smile on her face when she said it. Me, I was the happiest dog in the whole USA. Moose should quit her day job and write a cookbook called Grilling for Dogs.

4. Infotainment doesn't have to kill democracy. It might actually save democracy if artists, musicians, and bloggers use their cultural power to re-awaken the citizenry, to inspire their fans to feel connected to one another and to some cause larger than themselves. That's why my moms love artists who speak and sing truth to power--artists like the Dixie Chicks, Neil Young, and, of course, Mr. Bruce Springsteen, who speaks eloquently about what he's trying to do in his new album of reinterpretations of folk songs, We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions, in an interview on NPR.

5. Love is like water. It always finds a way to get where it wants to go. If you get too tired taking long walks on the trail with your moms, you can take shorter ones and know that they'll turn around when you tug on the leash. They'll even carry you up the hill on Larch if they have to. And they'll keep finding ways to make you eat. They'll put a bite of salmon on top of canned food. They'll buy you your own loaf of bread and tear it up into tiny pieces. They'll save a piece of chicken just for you and let you eat all the leftover couscous from Tuesday night. Then they'll tell the story about how when you were a baby couscous was one of your favorite foods. They'd use it to lure you back into the house at night, standing on the deck shouting in a goofy voice, "Roxie, do you want some couscous? Come get some couscous!" They didn't even care when the neighbors asked what the deal was with couscous and why they were shouting about it late at night. Love finds a way to bring a dog and her moms together in the night.

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