Lois has recently become a dog, an aspiration neither she nor I knew she had.
Like many dogs, Lois has a few internal alarm clocks. Unlike most dogs, none of Lois’s have anything to do with food. Lois is entirely driven by people and play.
The same photo has been the wallpaper on my phone for years now. Gunshy in a bow tie was the obvious choice before he died last May, and it never even occurred to me to change it. Until yesterday. I might have gone on gazing on my departed little boy a hundred times a day indefinitely, but another baby boy showed up in my family this week, and everything in the world has changed. When my sister shared a photo of herself and her two-day-old son at home in front of the Christmas tree, my heart exploded, my brain fell out of my head, and all I wanted to do with the rest of my life is stare at that baby.
It was a pretty big day for Lois. On her morning walk with Mike to the place we call the Magical Toy Forest, she found an exciting new toy. Now, Lois find toys there all the time, hence the clever name. But today she found a particularly thrilling deflated white rubber soccer ball, and the two have been inseparable ever since.
Seriously. She wouldn’t put it down, so Mike let her carry it home. The two of them got so dirty playing together (Ball and Lois, not Lois and Mike) that she had to stay in the backyard for the next two hours – where they played together the whole time. Then Mike and I took her for a 45 minute walk. She brought Ball along, carrying him the whole way. Finally, I decided if she wasn’t going to put the disgusting thing down after four hours, I was just going to have to give the both of them a bath.
Now, they’re both clean, happily playing together.
Lois doesn’t do things halfway. I like that about her. Actually, I’m a little jealous of her. Sometimes I get an idea that I’m really excited about, that I’m really attached to, and simply because it’s so intense and overwhelming and if I give it an inch it will take up the next four hours of my life, I put it right down. I decide I’ll come back to it later. Why not, right? It’ll still be there.
It’s never as exciting though, to come back to super amazing idea later and break it into little, manageable chunks. I want to give myself permission to glom on to inspiration the way Lois glommed on to Ball. I want to refuse to put it down, even if it’s time to go home or time for a walk or time for a bath.
Sometimes being an adult human with a job makes that more difficult than it is for a 2-year-old dog whose main job is doing cute things her owners can put on the internet. But I’d like to think it’s possible.
If you pay even the slightest bit of attention to myself or my husband online, you know we have a large, silly dog named Lois. We love Lois, who will be two years old one week from today, but Lois is…special. And being special sometimes makes Lois’ life a challenge.
Lois, our giant white and black dog, wakes up every morning so excited that today is today. She loves today. Today, Lois feels, is the best day ever, every day. And why not? She doesn’t know about gridlock in Washington or women’s reproductive rights being under assault all over the nation, or how many extra bills popped up this month, or ongoing racial inequality or gender inequality or the widening gap between the rich and the poor. Also, she’s a dog.
Sleepy but panting, Gunshy’s brindle head was in my lap when my dad was handed his lab report on Sunday. He didn’t say anything while reading it, but his face flushed red and tears rushed down his cheeks. And that was that. A few days earlier, Gunshy had been…