Tuesday, May 26, 2009

dogs and daughters

I missed another mother's day. And father's day is coming up, which I'm sure I'll forget as well. So today, while I'm thinking of it, I'd like to let my parents know that I love them and do appreciate all they've done.

Dogs and Daughters

It’s a hazy, hot morning in late May. The workers have already been here long enough to have had a coffee, taken off the roof, and opened the first can of beer. It’s 8.45 am.

The dogs are letting me know that they’ve been patient enough through the whole worker, coffee, roof thing but now it’s their turn. Each in their own way is telling me that it’s time to go for the morning walk/play/poop. Ruff, the 4 year old Golden Retriever, is lying immediately in front of the gate. He’s not making a sound but it’s clear that I will not being passing through that gate again without him. He just lies with his full, sweet, smiling force… waiting. I’m ready when you are, he says.

Q, the 3 year old, black “mixed breed” follows me around with her wiry, little body …whining. Every time I move she strings together cries, and whines, and barks in what can only be the irrefutable argument as to why it is now the dogs’ turn for attention. I got things to do, she says.

It’s then and there I realize that the furry, 4-legged beasts living in my home are canine replicas of my sister and me.

Ruffino – big and blond, lovable and loving, sensitive and loyal. Ruff plants himself at my feet when I return after too many hours away at work, content to have me home. Ruff gets droopy eyes and lies in front of the door when he sees David packing his suitcase for another trip. He climbs in my lap at that scene in the English Patient when The Count asks to die and I start sobbing. Ruff barks at every car that passes with an aggressive presence to not let anyone near us.

Q barks because Ruffino barks.

Q is dark and intense. And cuddly - at the end of the day. Q barks in a high pitched, ear piercing noise when she wants to play, then sits obediently next to the lemon drawer when her cries have been noticed. Out in the fields playing, Q leaps and runs and runs and leaps, she explores and does her own thing while checking in every now and then to make sure Ruff and I are still where she left us.

Ruff sits 5 feet from me in the tall grass waiting for me to toss the lemon for him to catch or to go for a little stroll with me.

Ruff has figured out how to open the trash can to share all of its treasures. Q has figured out that when the front door is closed there’s always another door open somewhere else.

Ruff can spell and Q's good at math...oh, wait, I'm just kidding about that.

How did this happen? Just a coincidence? Have I, subconsciously trained my dogs to behave in such a way as to simulate my life growing up? Is it cosmic recompense for what my sister and I have put our parents through? That must be it. It’s pay backs.

You see, Ruff and Q have a bit of a reputation. To anyone who has ever been to our house, our dogs are, well, bad. They are not trained. They don’t do what they are told. That’s how they are seen. But that’s only because others see them as a unit – the dogs, not Ruff and Q.

Ok, it’s true. As a pair, they are a little loud. They like to have a good time. They want to be in on the party.

But they are well behaved, individually well behaved that is, to suit their different needs, interests and reactions. So when one is happy and lying at your feet the other is in your lap licking your face. When one is sleeping on the couch the other is going nuts at a bird flying over the patio. When one sits contentedly enjoying company and conversation the other yips and barks and whines to go leaping in the fields.

Individual dogs, individual needs, individual interests, individual reactions. Together...a constant, non-stop, never-ending, presence –the dogs.

So, Mom and Dad, just want you to know that, well, I’m getting mine.

Happy Mother’s and Father’s day. Luckily for you, you have two different dogs, um I mean daughters - one who forgets proper days for celebrations and one who doesn't. Constant, non-stop, never-ending presence.

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