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Thursday, December 23, 2010


martha the dog

A dog from next door (almost half mile) took up here last year when she was still much of a puppy. All through the snows and cold of winter, she stayed here during the day, lying on the snow on her belly, which is covered with hair unlike a lot of other dogs. She has shorts legs and runs like a bullet. She's every kind of dog there is mixed in one. When asked what she is, I can only answer, dog. She lives with 5 other dogs; her sister much bigger, a couple of nasty-tempered smaller dogs, a cat named Fondella the dogs don't mess with unless they want their faces and ears shredded. Martha ranks third or fourth in the hierarchy.

Martha is a naturally happy dog. She took to me as soon as we met. She was an obnoxious puppy, the kind you have to yell at to stop her from jumping and running into my legs when I'm walking. She learns, but what she learns is it's ok to jump all around me and pull back just as her front feet are about to land one. She dances around me on her back feet when I go to the mailbox, almost pirouettes, jumping, twisting in the air. Jumping at me, she twists against her momentum in the air and leans backward to avoid touching that makes me yell at her. Her eyes are beaming with love. She's so madly in love with me it's uncontainable. Whenever she's around me, she lets on like I'm the love of her life she can't live without. From the moment I step out the door to the moment I step into the car, she's in the air all around me, dancing on her toes, eyes flashing love at me, twisting in the air as high as she can jump every time, squealing.

I can't let her in the house because of cats, last winter 3, this winter one. Caterpillar hates it when I let a dog in the house, or another cat. This is Caterpillar's home, and I respect her will where dogs are concerned. Martha's tail and wiggling hind quarters would tear up the house. The times I've let her in required holding her down to keep her from busting wide open in ecstasy. She comes here in the morning when neighbors go to work, follows the car out the driveway and stops here. In the evening when the car goes by the other way, she chases after it to the house. When I say she's like she's in love with me, she's in love with them too, to the same extent. I've never known a dog bubbling over with love like Martha. She is just as ecstatic with the other dogs, but they don't take to it like a human does. They fight her when she jumps on them. She also spends her days here for relief from the other dogs. I've taken to buying boxes of dog biscuits to give her a treat each day. Sometimes, when Caterpillar hasn't eaten all her catfood, I'll put out the most precious cuisine there is for a dog--catfood.

I suppose if I were to spend more time with her she'd calm down some, but I don't see that happening. I'd like to have her go on walks with me, but once we get in the woods, she imagines she sees something and she's gone. When I get back to the house she's waiting. Almost totally out of control dog, but so full of love she can't do anything "bad" that would bother massa. She wants to be loved as much as she wants to love. The dogs have wiped the smile off her face, but the humans in her life love her too and keep the light of the love in her bright and shining. I've not felt right letting her lie outside all day on the snow when it's 10 degrees. She has places where she can be in the sun and see me through the window too. She'll lie on the snow all day long. I've put some good cushions on a little porch on the other side of the house where she likes to spend the days.

She wants petting all the time, though to pet her I have to hook a thumb in her collar, hold her down by the collar and pet her while she wiggles like a snake in ecstatic dog trances so thrilled over being petted she can't be still. I've tried to train her not to do that by walking away when she goes into one of those spams, but it doesn't teach her anything. It just means I've walked away and now it's time to jump and squirm and float in the air as much as possible. She's a darling dog and I do love her, so whenever I feel like petting her, I hook the thumb in her collar and hold it so she can't twist out of reach right away. She squeals like she'd stuck the tip of her tongue in an electrical socket. Squeals, squeals and squeals until I have to walk away and let her pull herself back together. She goes into such a trance squealing as she does squirming. It's evidently more than her nervous system can handle to be touched by a human hand. Most of the time when I walk out the door and she starts her dance I speak to her, "Hello, Crazy Dog." I suppose that's my name for her, though I call her Martha too. The love dogs have for us is tremendously beautiful when we allow them to show it. Even though it's "just a dog," it's still affirming, because we know in our hearts it's not JUST a dog. It's a dog.

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