“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

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Part II: Day 53: Good Bad Dog!

Yesterday at lunchtime I was working on a scene from the novel when my character arrives in France only to discover that a thief has made off with her wallet.  It's one of the few truly autobiographical elements of the story--that is, this happened to me once.  It was just this week that I decided to give my character that same crappy experience so that she could know firsthand what it's like to be in Europe as a middle-aged non-student with No Money At All.  I never figured out who got my wallet and how, and neither does my character, but she has her theories.  The bad guys win, just this one time, but her inner resources get a good workout.

Things were tense there in the train station in Toulouse.  My character had been up all night on the flight getting there, and she was hungry.  It was lunchtime here, but I wasn't thinking about the here and now.  But then my husband opened the door to my studio and called to me from the stairs: "Didn't you hear me yelling out there?"

I hadn't heard a thing.  I'd been very far away listening to an imaginary person's stomach grumbling.

"Zoe almost ate a baby groundhog.  She came very close to catching it.  I kept yelling at her and yelling at her, and she was ignoring me.  She chased it to its little lodge in all the sticks, and had her head right inside, but then she finally stopped."

In the old days, if Zoe was in bad dog killer mode, she wouldn't have stopped.  We've seen her eat live bunnies.  We saw her get scratched up by a little badger when she stuck her snout deep into its hole.

I was so sorry to have missed this.  The camera sat on my desk, unused for a couple days now.  No groundhogs were photographed on my watch.  The picture you see here below of a groundhog and its baby looks exactly like what we see in our yard every morning, but it was taken by someone else:


I used to be so upset when Zoe did things like this, but instead I patted her--she was panting now after the exertion and looking pleased with herself--and said, "That's my girl!"

Later I gave her the Chinese herbs Emily and Don have prescribed to her, in capsule form.  I wrapped them in cream cheese and got all six of them down that way.  I've started giving her these alternative medicines again this week, in this way.  She only eats canned food now, as I mentioned in an earlier post.  She's like the daughter of vegans who gets fed up and goes on a hunger strike until they bring her home some burgers and fries.  After I gave her these capsules, I sat beside her eating my lunch.  Today it was quasi-hippie/farmer fare: an organic salad with arugula and quinoa and chick peas and goat cheese feta and an all-beef hotdog (the beef from a local farm) and Zoe got very interested in my plate.  She sat and begged for some hot dog bites.  She was so insistent at one point that she grunted, then flashed me a winning smile.

All of this, of course, is extremely bad doggy etiquette.  I remember when I first gave her tidbits at an outdoor party when she was a puppy.  Before that, it hadn't occurred to her that my food could be hers.   Another guest at the party who was an old hand with dogs warned me that Zoe would never not want my food after this.  Because of my slip, because I liked having my cute little puppy licking my fingers, forever after, my friend predicted, she would always be a nuisance at dinner parties setting her head in peoples' laps, not all of whom would be as dogcentric as we are.  I did it anyway.  And I have to tell you that my guests have always said one thing about Zoe's begging: she's polite about it.  She does it demurely, quietly, and isn't insistent.  But of course these are people who are sitting at our table being wined and dined.  What else are they going to say?

But now, Zoe doesn't beg like she used to.  When we bring our dinner out to the deck, instead of straining on her tie-out to come up and join us and get in on the action, she sometimes prefers to nap.

So now, when Zoe reverts back to her wolfy ways and stalks a critter, or reverts back to her spoiled-humanized-center-of-the-universe-replacement-for-children ways and asks for me to share what I'm eating with gusto, I am very happy.  Her hunger for meat, living or otherwise, is a hunger for life.  Bon appetit, Zoe.  Bon appetit!


  1. delicious post. I think I'll put comments here for a while. In a shy mood.

  2. This is a good place! Thank you, Sara. Hope you are having a good weekend!