Childhood Story I
When a family friend found a friendly dog along the banks of a river in Suwanee, Georgia, she asked if we’d like to take her in. The Husky mix, with her clear blue eyes and auburn fur, won over my mom and us kids right away. It wasn’t until my Dad got home from work that we realized Suwanee must’ve had a bad past with men. She snarled and barked and nipped at his approaching feet as he came down the driveway. Mom shook her head and relented, “I don’t see how the two of them could live in the same house.” I began to sob and after a long while said, “But, where will daddy live?”
Childhood Story II
Childhood Story III
We had an Australian Shepard who loved to chase cars and bite at their tires, because he had nothing else to herd. When Boomer went missing, we figured after a couple weeks that this habit had caught up to him. We were sad but not surprised and started to accept that he was gone.
I was playing in the front yard when he came limping down the driveway. I hugged him long and hard as he wagged and panted, happy to be home. He flipped over so I could rub his belly. I called out “Mom! Boomer’s home and something’s wrong!” when I saw that his penis looked red, raw, and like a peeled grape.
At the vet he was diagnosed with an overactive libido; his condition described as severe chafing from overuse. He got neutered then and there, which my parents had initially held off on because he was a handsome full-breed and we knew a woman who got dogs into television and movie spots who had wanted to use him as a stud.
Childhood Story V
Franny had been in heat several times, once or twice a year for a couple years. My mom decided that before she spayed her she ought to give her the chance to fulfill her breeding instincts. My aunt’s male Jack Russell Terrier served as her beau.
As Franny’s belly swelled, so did my Mom’s knee. She had to schedule a surgery to repair a long-injured torn ligament. Fresh off the operation, Mom sat on the recliner with ice on her propped-up leg and a dry mouth from the pain pills they’d given her.
I went into the kitchen to get her a glass of water when I saw Franny’s placental sack begin to emerge. No one else was home. “You’ll have to do it, you can do it, I’ll tell you how,” my mom urged from her spot on the La-Z-Boy. I felt triumphant as I kneeled on the kitchen floor, playing midwife, rupturing the sack, letting the pups spill forth.
Travel Story II
The Mayor of Saint-Martin-d’Entraunes
The bull would escape my host’s pastures several times a month. The herd of cows, by instinct, would follow him. A neighbor would call to let us know and we’d pile in the truck to go collect them. One of these defections resulted in the cows’ grazing in the Mayor’s yard.
After an hour of running behind the cattle yelling “Alléz, alléz! Move!” to slowly herd them back to our property, the Mayor called out from his porch to offer us some champagne. Emily, the most fluent of us, with her New Jersey-accented French, maintained conversation with him while the rest of us busied ourselves assembling cheese and sausage atop crackers.
Later that evening, when the phone rang, we feared the herd had gotten loose again. Emily hung up and said, “The Mayor asked me on a date. I panicked and said yes.” Being 20 years his junior and a lesbian, this arrangement was of little interest to her. On the day of the date, she called to tell him she had gotten diarrhea and would have to renege.