Thursday, May 15, 2008

Hail yeah it's rainin'

Hail yes, it's rainin' again. And hailing. And tornado-ing. Just when I got the title for Tahoe's book, American Mutt, all heaven busted open. I'm not sure if that's a sign or an omen. I'm going to take it as a sign until further notice. I heard the proverbial roaring, and sure enough, we had a huge, giant funnel cloud threatening to rip us all up and dump us in Kansas. People say that tornados sound like freight trains, and I suppose that's the closest thing you could compare it to, but it is the most ghostly sound you could ever hear. Tahoe always loved the rain. He wasn't afraid of lightning, but he was a good cuddler.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Life after Tahoe

Thank you so much for all of you expressed sympathy for Tahoe, and especialy to Writer Pal Julia London, who kindly made a donation to the ASPCA in Tahoe and her girl Maudie's names. Check out Julia's ode to her pup (it's very funny) on her About Julia page.

I've been writing the book about Tahoe, and I want to do some sort of fundraiser for homeless pets. As with all of my books, a portion of the proceeds go to a charity, but I want to really make a difference with this one.

and am open for title suggestions if you'd like to chime in. The working title, for right now, is Love Tahoe. It's the good, the bad and the ugly (on both of our parts).

So, I'm going through the things that belong to Tahoe--his favorite blanket, the rhinestone collar my mother gave him, and Purple Man, this horrible looking fuzzy squeak toy that, even when bald, Tahoe found a way to rip more purple hair out of it's demented little head. I wish I'd videod it. He took great glee in holding Purple Man between his front paws and yank out a mouthful of hair. turn and spit it out. It was methodic--chew, pull, spit, repeat. Now, if I could have only taught him to vacuum . . . and as I sit here, holding Purple Man, wondering what to do with the bedraggled little thing, it occurs to me that Tahoe is not gone. Not really.

More on that later.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Love, Tahoe

Tahoe died.
He was fine and then he wasn’t. And then he was gone.
Joan Didion said that life changes in the ordinary instant. She was right.
The instant itself was almost ordinary. He howled twice (ordinary for him) and then he laid his head in my lap (ordinary for me) and then he died.
In an instant.
An instant that has changed every ordinary aspect of my life.
When I wake up, Tahoe is not here waiting for me for our morning romp in the yard.
When I write he is not here, curled on my feet, his soft ears near my knee where I can absently stroke him while I’m trying to shape words into something coherent, readable and hopefully poignant.
He is not here when I go to the grocery store to pick up milk and eggs and always a treat for my guy, who is always in the passenger seat, riding shotgun.
Tahoe is a front seat dog and even when mortally ill, would not tolerate the backseat.
He is not here for our nightly snuggle, the one that eases off the day’s tension, melts away any residual anger or hurt or angst that others have visited upon me, and more importantly, those that I have visited upon myself or others.
He’s gone.
I still can’t believe it.
For 15 years, he has been a part of my life. Of my heart. Of the essence of who I am, and who I mean to be.
As I wait for the vet to deliver his ashes, which I will keep on my desk, I have to remind myself not to keep glancing out the wide window, as I do every fifteen minutes, where he is not patrolling the backyard, his beautiful face pointed to the sky, sniffing for the neighborhood news he always found in the wind.
He is gone.
And if he is gone, why do I still feel his presence?
Why do I still feel those soft ears that I stroked a thousand times a day? A phantom pain from a part of me that’s been ripped away. In Joan Didion's instant.
It's all those instants--those ordinary instants--that get me when I least expect it.
The instant when I brought his tiny, flea-ridden, coccidia-infected, fuzzy body to the man who would become his vet.
With his little puppy teeth, Tahoe bit him. Hard.
At the instant of fresh pinpricks of blood, Dr. Pete informed me that Tahoe would never be a good pet, and his breed were generally not good dogs.
He was right.
Tahoe was never a very good pet.
And he wasn’t much of a dog.
But he was a hell of a friend.

Barnes & Noble Round Rock Signing

Barnes & Noble Round Rock Signing
My friend Pantera with Tahoe & Me

Tahoe and a new friend at the signing