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Dog Craving

Even with billions of people on this planet, humans are lonely. Why else would we find small creatures, clean them up, put leashes on them, and take them for walks? Why would we let them sit in the passenger's side of the car and talk to them the entire trip down to LA? Why would we buy them sweaters and special bowls and fluffy beds? Why would we mourn them when they were gone, refusing to even buy a rat because the grief of losing a creature is just too much?

I don't have a dog now and haven't had a dog since I lived at my mother's home, but if I ever anthropomorphize, it was when Pippin was alive, our Doberman. Pippin, as far as I could see, was a person, had a personality (slightly sneaky but caring), loved us (enough to take nips out of those who seemed to be after us. Pippin took care of us, watched over us, and was a part of the family. She even smiled. It was a scary Doberman smile, one that made my mother afraid at first--that raised lip, those exposed teeth--but it was a smile.

My friend Karen had a dog named Martin whose smile used to make me walk away from her front door until I realized it was a smile. Smiles can be dangerous.

I am not a dog person--my last pets were cats. My boys grew up with cats, and in the last three years, I've had to put two cats to sleep. So I'm not in the mood for an animal, much less a dog, who would pine because of my strange hours away and my travel. Even though I am lonely in that human-need way sometimes, just wanting that warm animal body to sit next to me on the couch, I don't think I can take care of another life right now.

Also--and this is crucial--I don't want to deal with poo. Separately, I walk with two friends regularly who bring their dogs along with them on our walks. Because we are walking in a park area, one carries the requisite plastic bag (my other friend is a renegade dog poo person, letting Mickey poo where he wants, and I worry we are going to get caught by a homeowner with a rake!). Often we end the walk with a warm bag of poo. Now, this is somewhere I don't want to go. I have had babies, done the cloth diaper routine, and I've seen enough poo for a lifetime. I've had kitty litter boxes in the past as well, but mostly, cats are really wonderful caretakers of their own poo. We don't have to deal with it.

But dogs? I have seen things on the trail that boggle the imagination. And I just won't even tell you because it might be close to your breakfast time.

But I love dogs, feel the craving we have for them, these sentient creatures who are smarter than people in so many ways. I have dog longing sometimes, looking across traffic and seeing the man and dog in the car. There will be the dog sitting in the car seat, looking out the window,fur blown back by the wind, tongue hanging out, a canine smile on its face. There is nothing and no one who loves the person driving the car like that dog, and the person carries on a conversation with the dog, stroking it, patting it. The dog is having the best day of all time, just like every day, because the dog is out with its person, that very thing being exactly and perfectly enough.


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We're currently dogless, but we do have three cats, which serve as highly trained literary critics. (One of them is always climbing on my keyboard while I'm trying to type, thuse "editing" my literary masterpieces in progress). I'm not sure how you feel about cats, but here's an excerpt from my book in progress, "The Spirit of the Craftsman."

....I’ve discovered that the way people react to cats is a good indicator of how they will react to people with vision. A certain number of people are totally freaked out by cats. These same people are freaked out by visionaries.
This is really unfortunate. In reality, cats have at least seven admirable qualities that every person who would desire vision would do well to emulate.
First: Cats are nocturnal creatures. When everyone else is asleep, the cat is alert and aware. Likewise, visionaries do their best work when everyone else is sleeping. You snooze, you lose.
Second: Cats have astonishing eyesight. They see things nobody else sees. They are particularly sensitive to things that change; their eyes are custom-made to detect the slightest movement. On the other hand, they are totally colorblind. They are not distracted by the showy, the colorful, and the flashy. They only see what is important to see.
Third: Cats are totally oblivious to public opinion. A cat neither knows nor cares what anyone thinks about him. He simply goes about his business. He doesn’t surround himself with yes-men (or yes-cats). You will never see a committee of cats. Cats never ask permission. Prophets and visionaries, likewise, have a gift for thinking on their own.
Fourth: Cats slip into and out of tight spaces with ease. They are lean, mean, and adaptable. They are totally unencumbered by entourages and bureaucracy.
Fifth: Cats have insatiable curiosity. If something in their universe changes in the least, they want to know why. They know there’s always something out there to explore. They take nothing for granted.
Sixth: Cats are quiet (for the most part). They don’t waste a lot of energy bragging about their exploits before the fact, or trying to explain them afterwards. They know that nobody would understand them, anyway.
And finally and possibly most importantly: Cats tithe. In fact, a cat will usually leave considerably more than a tenth of his latest hunt on your doorstep. You may not feel you have any pressing need for a third of a gopher, but that’s entirely beside the point. A cat understands a tithe is not for your benefit, but for his. :) Eric

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Dog longing

is the perfect word. I have dog longing, too. I fall in love with other people's pets and have surges of desire to drive to their homes just to pet their cats or dogs and then leave without dealing with the humans. Most dog owners think their dog is top dog, but since I don't have a dog of my own, I love them equally.

And the reason I don't have a cat or dog now is I refuse to pick up poo. I always reason, if I think it out of the question to pick up my best human friends' poo, I shouldn't stoop to pick up dog poo. Yet I still dream of living with an all white English Bulldog named Bolger.

I didn't want this post to end. I wish you could hear me laugh. Still laughing and will do so while I work on my graphic novel.

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The Poo Factor

I'm so glad it's not just me.  I don't want that whole plastic bag life.  I am so, like, DONE with poo.

And I agree with the equal love opportunity for all creatures at this point.  Any cat will do, any dog, though I do harbor a tiny fantasy of a smallish dog and an orange cat.

Have a wonderful day of painting/writing!



Jessica Barksdale Inclan www.jessicabarksdaleinclan.com

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Just noticed

Your middle name is Barksdale. :)

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I grew up in a household with cats-live ones, ceramic ones, cats in pictures; my mother LOVED cats and we had six at one time for several years. So I guess I considered myself a cat person. Despite my familiarity with the feline kind, I had no desire to have any pets (read: responsibility) in my life. When my husband and I married, we had no pets and there was never any even mention of pets. Children, once present in the householed, began pet discussions. Thankfully, fish was as close to pets as we got.

Eventually my children pestered me for a puppy. "Dog!" I said, "no way." They are sloppy, codependent, crotch smelling, four legged foul creatures. "If you want a pet, we are going for a cat "; they are independent and clean. I really no longer liked (or had a desire for cats)- just a desire to get the children off my back with the least possible amount of effort.

I dodged the doggie bullet for 12 years; I always had valid reasons why it would not "be fair" to bring a dog into our home. The kids were to young, my daughter had allergies (albeit inconsistent) , the house was to small and no one was ever home. Besides I really had enough responsibility.

As children get older, they develop an uncanny ability to argue and reason (you want a 10 year old defending you in court). They informed me that they were older, more responsible; they explained that we now had a larger home and yard for a dog. My daughter pointed out that her allergies seemed to have disappeared. My unhelpful (with this argument) husband remined me that now he worked fulltime from home so someone would always be home.

I gave in and became the proud owner of an adorable eight week-old yellow lab (Ruby) almost a year ago.

No regrets, never looked back.

She was going to be the kids dog, but Ruby turned out to be my most loving and loyal companion. She knows my moods and responds to them appropriately. She nuzzles me when I am depressed, she nudges me to play when she senses that I have forgotten about how to have fun. Every greeting from her is executed with unabashed enthusiasm. When I need to sit and meditate on the beauty of the world on our hikes together, she will come and sit quitely, motionless by my side.

She is perfect, but she is not. Although her mother was named Treasure, her father was named Devil (I learned this after I plunked down my $700 deposit on this particular puppy). She infrequently jumps-unless she is dirty and you are wearing something that needs to be dry cleaned; this necessitates a paradign shift- dog hair can be an accessory. She never really chewed, although she does make an exception for Italian leather shoes (and, really, who can fault a girl for good taste in shoes). She never begs during a meal, but won't leave your personal space while you are cooking . And yes, she does manage to poop at the beginning of each walk (as opposed to waiting until the end) and I really do hate walking with that warn plastic bag. But I am in love and it is blind.

April 23rd will be her first birthday. On that day I will reflect how much joy and laughter this four legged creature has give to me over the past 365 days. I will snuggle up close, look into her deep brown soulful eyes and tell her how lucky we are that we have found each other.

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Two wonderful dogs!

And they poop, pee, bark, get sick and have to go to the vet. Poo? Eh. So what. I just breathe through my nose. These beings, both big funny-looking mutts, are the lights of our lives. With dogs, you get to laugh every day!

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I'm a Poo Loser

Okay, okay.  No back bone.  I get it.  Or maybe, too much nose.

I know I'm missing all that dog life, but I can't deal with the poo!


Jessica Barksdale Inclan www.jessicabarksdaleinclan.com

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I mean mouth.

I mean, I breathe through the MOUTH.  And I make my daughter clean up the dog poop in the yard. It's her chore. SHE's the one who wanted the second dog. SO most of the time it's a moot point for me. No, no, not a comment on your backbone! 

I think you can settle the whole issue like this: let the anarchists move in IF they bring a cute yellow lab puppy with big soppy brown eyes AND promise to clean up the poo. (Or is that too conforming for them?)

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Eric and Rubydoo

Testimonies to animals here!  You both make my longing grow for cats and dogs.

I guess it's good to get it out here so I don't bring one home.

Thank you both for so much "animal"!


Jessica Barksdale Inclan www.jessicabarksdaleinclan.com