Furry Black Muse

“This you’ll call sentimental─perhaps─but then a dog somehow represents—no I can’t think of the word─the private side of life─the play side”  — Virginia Woolf

My dog Grace


Writing practice went ahoo today because Grace had to be at the vet at 7:30 this morning to have her teeth cleaned. This involved negotiating the hour between Grace bursting exuberantly out of her crate and the time the car rolled out of the driveway without Grace having breakfast.

Breakfast is a big deal to Grace. All food is, but breakfast is paramount probably because it has been at least ten hours since she last inveigled a biscuit from some human in need of her approval. She made her mandatory visit to the back yard, returning to stand at the door, tail wagging,  ready to come in and EAT. It is a testimony to her joyful spirit that she is able to manage this level of enthusiasm every single day for the exact same cup of Wysong. She also shares a banana with her dad. Just to make sure that we don’t miss the importance of this event, she helicopters around twice in a circle.

This morning no food, no banana, no water, and no eye contact from her humans. Grace sits and watches us for a minute and then gets up and takes one furry foot and flips over her food dish. And waits. I break down and start apologizing. “You can’t have any breakfast today. You are having anesthesia, if you eat, you will die.” Grace looks at me and makes a small noise more like the sound a monkey makes than an English Cocker Spaniel. It all adds up to, “Huh? No way!”

She is gone all day and I miss her. She usually spends most of her day snoozing here in my office. Finally, I get a call that she is awake (phew!) minus two teeth and I can pick her up after four. I am reminded that I love this little black manipulator far more than is good for me, as I loved the ten who have preceded her in my life. My books will always have animals in them. My favorite writers usually have animals in their books. Writers are supposed to show and not tell. Nothing shows more about the humans in the story than the way they interact with their animals. Besides, writing about the animals is fun.

Grace is home again. Tomorrow morning, despite the indignities of today, she will bound out of her crate with nothing more pressing on her mind than breakfast.