Well, this is a first.
It's currently 1:11 AM, and I was recently asleep like any normal person would be at this hour, when something unusual happened: I was roused by the sound of a kind of violent crying--sobbing, actually--that turned out to be coming from me. I don't know how long I had been just blubbering away in my sleep or what finally woke me up, but anyway, it happened, and now I can't sleep. So here I am.
Even though the mechanics of sleep blubbering are somewhat mysterious to me, the reason for my sleep blubbering is not. Ruby, my dog and dear friend, isn't doing so hot. I think I'm probably going to have to help her out with the actual death part of dying--probably pretty soon--and the thing is I just don't think I'm brave enough to do it.
People are always making wild and unsubstantiated declarations about the specialness of their pets; dogs especially. I happen to think that in general, one dog is very much like every other dog: furry, optimistic, driven by an insane appetite for human love and garbage. Ruby, however, is a bodhisattva. She is a pure, wise, compassionate soul and there's not anybody like her.
When I first met Ruby, it was impossible for me to have a dog. I was 21, living in a house that didn't allow dogs, and I didn't have any money. Ruby was 4 months old, had paws the size of dinner plates and was severely--severely--incontinent. But there was nothing I could do about it being impossible. Because Ruby's the closest I've ever come to love at first sight.
So, I took Ruby and named her and got her a red collar with a tag that said "Hey! I'm Ruby!" on it. No phone number or address because I didn't have one. For a while my boyfriend kept her at the farm he was working on. One winter Ruby and I slept in different peoples' yards in a one-person tent. I flew her to Georgia after I graduated from college and she pooped in airport in front of a whole bunch of horrified bystanders (Jane almost died laughing). The time I got divorced, I lost her for a year and a half, but I got her back in the end. Once she got food poisoning from eating out of the dumpster behind the frat house on Nacoochee Ave. and she had to get these fluids injected into her back that made her look like a camel. One time my mom's dog Beezie caught and killed a young deer in the pasture behind the house, and Ruby ate almost the entire thing before Mom found her. She looked like she had swallowed a 20 pound sack of potatoes.
One time I picked Ruby up at the airport in Bozeman, Montana after that year-and-a-half separation. She traveled in a giant crate and I watched them unload it from the plane and drive it across the tarmac on a little motorized cart. When I unlocked the crate, she exploded out the door and ran a couple big circles around me. But after she calmed down, I knelt down in front of her and she sat on her haunches in front of me and put one of her enormous paws on each of my shoulders, and licked my nose.
"Let's not waste any more time not being together," she said with her big, brown cow eyes.
"Agreed," I said with my regular human voice.
That's our standing agreement. I'm just not sure what to do now.