Protocols of People and Dogs

Six o’clock.

I hope for a quieter day today. I don’t have to go to River Road this time. No guilt trips over wearing a mask or not, or leaving my bag at the front of the store. If Aesop weren’t so scary to other people and animals, I would take him for a walk. But he’s like a pit bull in being aggressive. For this reason I would never own another blue heeler.

The way I ended up with this one was a fluke. I was afraid to say no to my sister, who often gave notoriously bad advice. Jeff knew this about her and tried to protect her from the truth. He swore me to secrecy all the time. The family situation was an incredible mess from all the lies and deception usually for the purpose of emotional caretaking. Don’t tell So and So because she will be upset. Polly and Jeff learned this mode of operation growing up together, but I learned just the opposite in dealing with Mom. I could not adapt to my siblings’ protocol after Mom passed away. It wasn’t my fault. I was brought up to be honest. If it turned out to be a virtue, it was by a coincidence and not from adherence to a particular doctrine…

Anyhow, Aesop is in a rut of waiting for his next snack. Just lies there and does nothing for hours at a time. He doesn’t know how to entertain himself when I’m busy with something else. I believe he’s too intelligent to sit and gnaw on a bone. He needs to interact with me in a meaningful way. I have to figure something out.


After Maisie

Midnight. I’ve been sleeping more deeply and having strange dreams. Towards the end I dreamt of my old pug dog Henry, whose euthanasia in July 2012 was a painful event for me. Everyone loved Henry. Wendy at the animal hospital was in tears the day of his demise. I remember how paranoid I still was when my sister came and helped me do the deed. Then again, maybe a little distrust was justified. It was the month when she pumped me for information about our brother’s feelings and attitudes. I spilled the beans, unmindful that she would later betray me to him. At Thanksgiving time, my sister did just that, and I heard about it from Jeff the following February. After that, the whole family excommunicated me for a year. But I was blackmailed by Polly, who had cornered me into telling her the truth. Again, the only real actors in the drama were the two of them, and I was used as a messenger. It was just like a novel by Henry James called What Maisie Knew. My siblings only employed me to gather information about each other— then threw me away. By the way, I named my pug after Henry James, my favorite writer at the time.