This describes the joys of borrowing a dog and in particular Roger, an aging squirrel enthusiast.
I sit in prescribed meditation posture in my morning attempt at spiritual practice. Bringing my mind back from a very non-spiritual gallivant, I open my eyes to peek at how much time I have left, and instead of the clock, I see two cataract glazed eyes peering at me over a wet, black nose. The furry snout is not inches away.
My wavering career path (not that there has been much of a career nor a path along the way) brings me periodically back to Teresa’s Titanic Era apartment and her part Rottweiler, all mutt dog. We are the last two of our college friends still single. Teresa is a sensualist and I’m an ascetic, but we share an appreciation for wine, a Catholic upbringing and a mutual tolerance of each other’s differences; I prefer museums and home to her bars and late nights. It’s a complimentary trait of our friendship since I am happy to come back early to feed and take Roger out while Teresa is still enjoying nightlife and multiple flirtations.
Teresa acquired Roger while we were in graduate school from another student who hadn’t realized the commitment of a dog and now, ten years later, they’re still an unsavory pair. While Teresa’s passions are men and merlot, Roger’s are more straightforward - food . . .or rather anything
comestible regardless of nutritional value. His thick black coat adds an extra furry dimension to the dust bunnies that collect under the radiators and during my frequent unemployed periods, I find a certain unpaid job security hunting these rodents with Teresa’s vacuum. Roger, increasingly stiff with age, makes his way up and down the flights of stairs to the apartment complex’s courtyard, precious space in this inner city neighborhood, a private park. Here, in spite of his advancing age and retreating physical capabilities, Roger practices his passionate hatred for squirrels, UPS men and Harley Davidson Motorcycles with hysterical barking whenever he has the good luck to catch sight or scent of one of his arch foes.
When Teresa travels, I often apartment/dog sit and if Roger and I are not exactly soul mates, we do appreciate certain traits each other possesses. In my struggle with career and loneliness, the necessity of regular trips outside provides a minimal structure and the fuzzy presence comforts. On the other hand, Roger unfailingly exhibits enthusiastic admiration for my ability to scoop kibble into his bowl. Perhaps someday I’ll have enough of a job to keep my own place and dog, but until then, I enjoy dog borrower status with Roger.