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June 25, 2010
by Lee Seham
I love my dog.
Careful now. Not your dog. Not dogs in general. I love my dog.
Her formal name is Charlotte, but we call her Charlie because, although she is quite feminine, she is in touch with her masculine side.
Yes. Diana the huntress. She fearlessly charges after deer, heedless of the danger she may be facing. Unless they turn around.
Feminine? I should say! In fact, I take umbrage when a neighbor or a neighbor’s addle-headed child calls, “Here boy.” Are you blind? Can’t you see how beautiful she is? Alluring, even. (To other dogs).
I worry, of course, that she suffers from low self-esteem. Her mother (my wife) is slender and long-legged. Charlie is … well … let us say zaftig with the hind legs of a hockey player. But beautiful. Beautiful to me.
Still, I worry that the impossibility of measuring up to her mother’s appearance leads to certain eating disorders – like eating entire sticks of butter or loaves of bread when our backs are turned. Binge and purge … all over the house. So your dense child calling “Here boy” to my daughter doesn’t help. Not at all.
She is always set to go when I am. No clothes to arrange. No makeup to apply. Out the door and into the car in a single bound. If only all the women in my household could be like that.
I am thankful to New Castle that there are so many places we can walk together in complete freedom. I have a friend who drives with her dog all the way from New Canaan – a repressed town if ever there were – to enjoy our Chappaqua freedom. Still, when I see that sign – NO DOGS ALLOWED – I feel the slow burn of fury and pray that she truly is illiterate. Although I think dogs may smell bigotry.
Charlie has a sense of emotional entitlement that shows how much she is loved. If I stop caressing her on the drive to the sanctuary, even if it’s just to shift gears, she fretfully paws my right hand back to petting mode. And I oblige.
I love my dog. When the First Congregational Church scheduled a blessing of the animals, I determined that I would go with Charlie. And when Sunday dawned a raw and rainy day, my determination was undiminished.
It was just the three of us standing in the rain on a grassy island. The minister’s hand, ceaselessly stroked her head, ears and chin, as she gazed at him and he prayed to God.
Just the three of us in the rain. But, the minister took his time and did it right.
My dog is blessed. And so am I.
Lee Seham is a labor, employment and immigration attorney, who thinks his dog is better than yours.