Sunday, June 24, 2007

A sad story about Neighbor Dog

Z. stops at the storefront window our neighbor uses as a changing miniature display. Usually it's hedgehogs having picnics or conducting their treestump-house life, but right now both windows into the treestump-house are occupied by pictures of Neighbor Dog, and the miniature ceramic dogs that used to be having a pet parade in the display window on the other side of the street door have all gathered round to look. This is a composite of several conversations Z. and I have had in the week since the display went up. (Of course, we do not use the dogs' blognames when we talk about them.)

Z.: Can you tell me a sad story about Neighbor Dog?

S.: Neighbor Dog used to get so sad he would start howling. Then Hunter Dog and Diva Dog and all the dogs next door would howl, too. And Neighbor Dog would stop howling to listen, and he wouldn't be lonely anymore because he could hear all the other dogs. But Neighbor dog's hearing stopped working--

Z.: His listening broke.

S.: Yes, his listening broke. And then he couldn't hear when the other dogs howled. And so he stopped howling. And then slowly, slowly the rest of his body stopped working. And then he died. And now Neighbor N. and Neighbor M. are very sad.

Z.: And dey will have a party and Neighbor Dog and Diva Dog will come back.

S.: No, sweetie, they won't come back. When someone's body stops working and they die, they don't come back.

Z.: We have a picture of Diva Dog eating a BIG stick. In da woods.

S.: Yes, we do.

Z.: And we can put a Band-Aid on her.

S.: No, when someone is dead then Band-Aids don't help them anymore.

Z.: Hunter Dog and Annoying Dog's bodies still work.

S.: Yes, they still work. And they will work for a long, long time.

Diva Dog died last summer, a sudden two-day decline that began while we were on a long weekend down at my parents' house on the Chesapeake. We haven't been back there since, but we'll be going down there for a week starting Friday, and we'll be scattering her ashes, which have been in a box in the foyer for the past nine months, where they occasionally remind me of their presence by sending sharp spikes into my heart. I'm going to try to get some of the stuff from last summer out on the blog this week and then take a break until we get back. If things turn out to be a little sparse this week it's because I'm working on the drafts.

Next: A Diva takes the stage

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