Wednesday, February 8, 2012
The Perfectability of Dogs
When I was in graduate school I took acting classes for fun, and my favorite monologue was from Jane Martin’s wonderful play Talking With. If this play is ever showing in your area, go see it. It is a series of monologues from different women, and it is very moving and at parts funny and touching. My monologue was called Clear Glass Marbles and was about a woman whose mother is dying from cancer. The doctor has told the mother she has three months to live. The mother asks the daughter to go out and buy 90 marbles. Each day the mother holds on to one of the marbles and rolls it around in her hands and as she falls asleep at night, she lets go of the marble. The daughter hears it roll across the floor, and her mother tells her she is learning to let go. The last thing the mother asks for before she passes away is a picture from the front hall of a Labrador retriever she had owned when she was first married. The mother tells her that when you’re young you believe in the perfectability of dogs. That line got me every time, and I had to choke back tears when I delivered it.
We’ve had Lola since she was a puppy, and she is starting to show some signs of aging – white muzzle, quicker to tire out, and hip pain when we take her on too long of a walk. Somehow during an off-leash walk she has partially torn her ACL in her left rear knee. This means no exercising and no playing with other dogs for a while. The vet said at least two weeks, but we’ve passed that and she’s still not able to put any weight on it. It kills me to see my girl laying around all day depressed. Since she can’t go for walks, we spent Saturday afternoon after skiing driving her around town for some stimulation. I drove her around the plaza a couple of times and by our old house and up Canyon Road to museum hill to see the sights. She seemed to enjoy her little outing.
She’s a smart and sensitive one, this dog girl, and I know she’s feeling down. I think she understands that she has to heal, but being cooped up for weeks is driving her (and us) nuts. She’s started doing things she hasn’t done since she was a puppy like getting into the trash and trying to eat food off the counters. I had taken for granted her good behavior over the last 5+ years, and I had forgotten what it is like to live with a mischievous dog girl.
As Lola is going through this healing process, I can’t stop thinking about that monologue and the perfectability of dogs. Honestly, I hope it’s not something I will stop believing in as I get older.
Since our wedding, when I feel like we officially became a family, I’ve been savoring this time in our lives. I know it won’t always be like this – young and healthy family of four. Some day we won’t have those girls with us, and I’m trying to consciously appreciate all of our moments together now because I know it will always be a special time in our lives that we remember fondly when we’re older.