Written in Spring 2015 for my Creative Nonfiction class.
Monday, May 4, 2015
Waxing Gibbous Moon, Illumination 95%
Blood Type A+
Okay, I’ll admit it! I love dogs. Although I claim that my favorite animal is the elephant (my older sister insists that this is only because she told me so when I was little), it really is the dog. I come from a long tradition of dog lovers, to put it lightly. My dad had an Alaskan Malamute named Keemak growing up, and my sister and I could recite by heart, despite the fact that the dog had died years before we had been born, that Keemak had once snapped up an entire roast beef off the kitchen counter, that he had been a best-of-breed champion in the dog show, that he had jumped on Grandma’s friend’s lap right in front of her (Grandma has since learned how to discipline dogs, and to this day she is the only person on whom our current dog will not jump in excitement), and that once a thief had stolen a Saks Fifth Avenue bag off the backyard fence and later must have been surprised to find his prize a stool sample. After much begging and pleading we finally got a dog of our own, who is the best dog in the world, who is my brother when he’s being good and “the dog” when he’s being naughty.
I know that the dog who played Toto in The Wizard of Oz was a Cairn Terrier. I know that some dogs have hair that grows forever like the hair on people’s heads and some have fur that grows to a certain length and falls out. I know that when a dog and its owner gaze into each other’s eyes, both produce oxytocin. I know it happens with my dog.
I know almost every breed in the AKC (American Kennel Club) and can identify a dog based on nothing more than a vague tendril of description: on one occasion, my friends began to tell me about a sighted “majestic dog with long, flowing hair” and I only needed to Google Afghan Hound and confidently display my image search results.
“Is this your dog?”
It was their dog.
Another time, after I took off to sprint along the ocean shore, a different friend said, “When you’re running, that’s when you’re the truest form of dog.” The same friend, after I showed him a dog video, asked me how much of my time was devoted to thinking about dogs. I would say approximately 80% of the time.
I text my parents and sister a dog picture or three every day in our group message. If any of us meets a dog, we send a picture. Just the other day, I was on my way home and stopped to pet an Alaskan Malamute. The owner seemed surprised. “You’re the first bicyclist that’s ever stopped to pet my dog,” he said.