“If you go slowly enough, six or seven months is an eternity—if you let it be—if you forget old things, and learn new ones. Even a week can last forever.”
Rick Bass, Winter

"In the midst of winter, I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer."
Albert Camus

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Day 42: The Zen of Pup Pile-up

When Zoe was a puppy and I took her on walks with her favorite golden retrievers and their people, we humans would sometimes indulge in a strange tribal ritual.  "Pup pile up!" one of us would call, and we would drop to the ground as in some kind of air drill.  That was the signal for the pups to begin rolling around, mostly on us.  The dogs knew their job and they did it with glee: standing, sitting, lying down, and everything in between.

To the humans, it was like entering a wolf den, having these dogs walk all over us.

This is the best way I know of to make time stop.

Even though Zoe now weighs 60 pounds, I can still close my eyes and imagine what it was like to tuck her under my arm before or after pup pile-up.

One of the golden retrievers in those first pup pile-up days was an old diplomat who had learned the customs of many cities and many dog dens, and the other was a natural leader, independent but mindful of group dynamics.  Zoe was learning canine ethics through both of them.

Often the dogs preferred each other's company to ours during pile-up sessions.  I loved watching them.  They would take pup pile-up into the fields where, maintaining close physical proximity, they would run and wrestle and nip each other, but never too hard.  I could forget myself completely.

Many of Zoe's canine friends are still happy to participate in pup pile-up.  Among her close associates are the border collie who thinks he's a lap dog, and the Cavalier King Charles spaniel who thinks he's a greyhound.

The border collie will leap into any lap that isn't taken.  All you have to do is sit down on the floor and he does what he thinks you have asked him to do by merely putting yourself in his path.  The Cavalier King Charles prefers to stand before you and look deeply into your eyes until you stop what you are doing to pet him exclusively.  He is the athlete of the group, known to run along with his people for hours--they themselves being the athletes in the group--as they mountain bike for miles and miles and miles.  But despite his rigorous training schedule, he is always happy to loll about on command.

But when he and the border collie are walking all over me, I seem never to have a camera.

Often, these days, when I want to be at the center of a circle of dogs, especially on film, I have to use milkbones.  The dogs prefer to work for pay. 

I appreciate that it's not my company, but the treat they are after.  I can still disappear and enter their world completely.

Zoe and Blue

Milo, Blue, and Zoe
Milo, Blue, and Zoe, who is licking her lips
Milo, Blue, and Zoe.  Note how Milo is the one being petted; he has ways.

1 comment:

  1. obviously you need to post a video of the REAL pup pile up, the ULTIMATE P.P. which is with Zoe and Sadie! xoxo