Tuesday, October 03, 2017

My Beautiful Black Dog

I missed Black Dog Day a couple of days ago. Can’t remember what was on my mind Sunday—probably not much. But last night, like all our nation, my mind was on the massacre in Las Vegas. I haven’t put that tragedy aside, but first I want to pay tribute to Sophie, my black Bordoodle (deliberate cross of a miniature poodle and a border collie). Why she came out of that cross black, or really black tipped with gray, I’ll never know.

At six, Sophie is into middle age but has lost none of her enthusiasm for chasing squirrels and other creatures that might invade her yard. She’s also enthusiastic about visitors, making her welcome plain. Woe betide the occasional strange she doesn’t take to—I am immediately suspicious of that person. In short, Soph has a zest for life that is a joy to see. And affection? She demands to be first in line, in front of the other two dogs.

Sophie has gotten more protective as she ages. If I go in the main house for dinner, she goes for a bit but then wants to come outside, where she stands guard at the cottage door until I return. Generally, she starts out the night by my bed, though during the night she migrates to the couch or her favorite chair. She’s had a little problem the last two nights. Colin has slept on her couch. When I got up in the middle of the night last night, she quickly appropriated the spot in the bed I’d vacated and expected to return to. It took a little coaxing to move her, and at that I had barely enough space to keep from thinking I would momentarily fall out of bed. But I had a warm body pressing against my legs.

Tonight, Jordan and I sat outside with the three dogs. Lovely evening, but every time Sophie chased a squirrel, Cricket, the older of the two Cavaliers, tagged along with a look on her face that said, “What? What should I do now?” June Bug, the one who’s been under the weather, just ignored them both.

A bonus to our evening happy hour—two blue jays flitted back and forth from the edge of the roof to branches of the oak tree above them. I know they don’t have a nest this time of year, so we were curious. And, oh rare occasion, we saw a hummingbird flitting about the hibiscus. Now if only the cardinal would come back.

I cannot get Las Vegas out of my mind—nor should any of us. I was appalled today to read that this was the 273rd shooting this year, albeit much more spectacular (sorry, can’t verify the statistic, but it sounds reasonable).. Stephen Paddock earned himself the dubious distinction of being responsible for the largest mass shooting in American history, even surpassing the slaughter of Lakota Sioux at Wounded Knee. I worry now about who will set out to beat that record—a grisly thought.

Republicans have uniformly deflected calls for tighter gun control by saying, “Not now. This is not the time. This is a time for mourning.” My indignation knows no bounds. If not now, when? It’s appalling to me that these men and women callously ignore the rate of gun deaths in this country compared to other developed (and most undeveloped) countries. It is beyond acceptance with a shrug. We must vote these people out of office, make gun control a major issue in the upcoming congressional elections. The callousness of the Republican response baffles me. They seem, as a collective group, to be totally without compassion.

Even Stephen Scalise did not come forward, he who was critically wounded by an out-of-control gunman last spring. It’s like they never learn, they never sense the mood of the public. Makes me think more about where I want to live next—Canada? All those health benefits, tight gun control (no machine guns). Looks increasingly attractive.

Hmmm. Do you think I could get my family to go with me?

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