Thursday, September 14, 2006

Just a Girl, Sitting on a Dog House

Once, I had a dog.

He was very little. So was I.

He was a black dachshund named Stanley, and he wasn't really mine. He belonged to my brother.

I don't know how long we had him before he went to live on a farm (the dog, not my brother).

No, really, in this case (as I found out from big brother P. when we went back for my dad's final days last year), Stanley did go back from whence he had come.

On the back of this photo, my mother has written the year 1968, so I couldn't have been more than 1 when he came to live in our grassy back yard (the dog, not my brother).

If I have the story straight, P. bought Stanley using money from his paper route. Then he wasn't as responsible as my parents would have liked, so back Stanley went.

Strangely, I find Stanley often in my thoughts.

I post his picture now simply because I found it in one of my dad's old photo albums, and the same big brother P. has sweetly gifted me with a fine photo scanner for my birthday, and I can scan it in.

When my mom was alive, she told me that I would sit on top of Stanley's dog house for hours, talking and singing to him, and he appeared to pay attention. While Stanley was snippy with others (probably another reason my parents divested the family of him), he was unwaveringly gentle with me.

Without a word, my mom said, I would walk out the back door, through the screened-in porch, out to the dog house where I would scramble up and hold court.

My behavior as a girl reminds me of S., the girl who loves snails.

When her neighbors moved, they left behind an orange cat with a smushed-in face who was called Lucy until someone noticed it was a boy.

My friend T. -- her dad -- says S. will sit on their front porch for hours, cradling that cat like a baby and singing to it until she senses someone is watching.

But if T. moves out of her view, she resumes singing her 6-year-old's songs to a cat that no one wanted but her.

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