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Animals

Ichi

My dog Ichi (rhymes with Peachy) reminds me of God, and I mean no disrespect to God. The willingness to love each person totally, in the moment, completely and sincerely, is the defining trademark of both Ichi and God.

The Photo Gallery

 
By the time I met Leslie, Huntington’s Disease had wreaked its havoc: every part of her body jerked and twisted uncontrollably, robbing her of the ability to walk or speak. But that didn’t stop her from communicating, and she came as close to talking as she was able when she saw me, along with my dog Kobe. Following some very animated but indecipherable sounds, she used sign language to make herself understood. Her rocking motion let me know that she wanted to cradle Kobe in her lap.

Assistance

I used to always walk in the woods

      before I became crippled.

            — from a dying woman 

I respond to a ranch house at twilight. An old woman is dying from metastatic lung cancer, vomiting blood. In between episodes of dry heaving and spitting dark clots, she reaches her hand out, sometimes grabbing my arm, other times involuntarily seeking the sky. We both know what her family refuses to see: she will be dead in a few hours. 

Destiny and the Socks

 
“Destiny, look!” I threw a ball of black socks in our orange tabby cat’s direction. He examined the socks quizzically for a moment, until their scent hit his nostrils. Then the corners of his mouth turned upward and his expression revealed great happiness. He buried his nose in the socks before batting them around and around the kitchen.

Canine Comfort

According to family legend, my mother took me for a walk in my stroller on one of those dog days of summer--high humidity, flopping flowers, lackadaisical leaves. I was happily singing along with the birds when a neighbor’s demonic dog rushed my stroller and tried to Eskimo-kiss me with its snout. I screamed, the dog howled, and thus began my lifelong fear of all furry, four-legged Fidos.