Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Dante's Poem

Orange and white spirit cat
you appear as a ghost might,
spread out on the floor
sunbathing in a spot of sun.
golden coat with soft white patterns that
criss cross your face and the rest of you
shimmers in the warm light

Sometimes at night
I watched you silently hide
behind moonlit blades of grass
crouched low, head tilted upwards
watching stars, perhaps,
waiting to catch one...

You didn’t wiggle a whisker
for a long while
and I wondered if you were dreaming.
You must have had
wild cat lions and tigers on your mind
compelling you now to
chase ankles or slippers or
hide behind doors or suddenly pounce
or run wild up and down stairs

or trees
for that matter…
you dashed after squirrels,
each time
the noisy acrobat swung away,
you hung on to the end of the branch
watched it go, shaking your head.

I still look for you
in that field across the street
and I glance upward uneasily
to the top branches
of the cottonwood
where the limbs wrap
around an untidy nest.

It is abandoned;
the hawk family
that buzzed us all summer,
that first year,
is gone too.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Annie Banan-ie

Annie was the second Vizsla to come into our lives. If you are not familiar with this breed, you ought to be. They are loving, athletic, smart, energetic, 40-50 lb lap dogs who wiggle their way into your life and heart and never let go, and they are beautiful. They look kind of like a taffy colored cross between a Weimeraner and a Greyhound. Annie is no exception.

She is the second Vizsla because the first one in the family was Bailey. Annie and Bailey belong to our daughter Jennifer and her husband Miles. Now Bailey was the ‘older brother’. He always made sure his younger sister knew he was in charge, even as he aged to the point that not just his face but almost his whole body had turned gray. I suspect there was a lot more competition than we realized because when Bailey left us for the rainbow bridge, Annie stayed by his side, said good-by and then went to hide under the kitchen table to ponder the situation for a while. She worked it out in her own doggie way. Then I think she began to love being the ‘only dog’ for a change.

She loves her position in her family (squarely under the dinner table with her head in your lap waiting for a handout) and adores her daily runs on the urban acreage located on the edge of town. So she has mice and rabbits to chase in nearby fields to her heart’s content. As important as these are though, birds are more important. After all she is a bird dog. To be a little more accurate, a Vizsla is a hunting dog developed in Germany as a pointer as apposed to a retriever. Something got lost with Annie though, she is an excellent chaser with pointing coming is as an afterthought.

The two matching dogs were the only ‘kids’ in the family for several years and had a big adjustment when our grandchildren, first the twins, Cory and Tyler and then Amber, the younger sister, came along. Annie had some issues to work out, was jealous and growled warnings but never bit. She tolerated being drug around the house going for ‘walks’ and giving up her spot on the sofa. We know Annie well because she lived with us off and on. She always knew her place when she was here, even though she was delighted when she could bother the cats and clean their cat boxes once in a while.

But more than anything I think she has been a pal, entertaining everyone with her silly antics. She delights with her mischievous golden eyes and lopsided grin and is best known for her ecstatic plunges in the hot tub. She shows up at our door (we live next door to our daughter) at dinner time or when she needs a drink of water after a run. That’s OK Annie, we’ll ‘leave the door open for ya’.