Emma in Malibu - September 2011
In and around a busy work schedule, I've been making holiday gifts and shopping. My home looks like Santa's workshop, as usual. Ribbons falling out of drawers, yarn EVERYWHERE, wrapping paper, jingle bells. There's even a partridge in a pear tree. Just kidding.
I've been talking to myself for years but it has picked up due to the season. In fact, I now carry on quite a conversation with not just me, but with my dog, Emma. She first came home with me in May of 1996. I took her straight from work to my book club. The book we were reading? You guessed it. Emma by Jane Austen. The divine Miss Em turned 15 last April. She's looking good and hikes Runyon Canyon in Los Angeles ... all the way to the top. I have to keep her on a leash because she's blind from cataracts and her nose wants to take her over the edge when we get near a gopher community! She is the perfect companion for someone like me. My days are sometimes 12-14 hours long and she patiently waits for me to take her outside. She takes medication for every woman's dream, a hypo-thyroid problem. Svelte and quite the lady, she also had a chance for "background" work, appearing on The Dog Whisperer when they filmed in my neighborhood.
This year I started early on gifts. I seemed to suffer from a lot of angst. I searched the internet and thumbed through catalogs. I bounced ideas off of Emma. She listened politely, commenting only when she had a thought. My angst increased as the number of shopping days until Christmas decreased. Now Emma was offering big sighs in response and a few times I think I heard the rumble of a disgruntled growl. I caught her staring at the Christmas tree. I couldn't tell if she thought she was staring at me, or if she was just enjoying the lights and shiny baubles ...
I've been dog sitting this week while my son is on location in Mexico. His dog, Arrow, needs a lot of exercise so I've been walking him every morning and spending my nights there since Emma sleeps quite soundly after she turns out the light. Today, when I came home to give Emma a walk and feed her, I arrived to an extra quiet house.
"Emma?", I called. "Em? Where are you?"
No answer. She wasn't in my workshop, not in the kitchen. I noticed she hadn't eaten and her water bowl was still full. She wasn't asleep on the bathroom mat. I looked in my bedroom and she wasn't there either.
"Where IS she?", I wondered.
When I got to the living room, I peeked around the corner and there she was, sound asleep and curled up on the Christmas tree skirt. Her nose was peeking out from under the branches. She didn't hear me come in. I turned quietly so as not to disturb her. When I did, I stepped on something and it shot across the room. I picked up a ballpoint pen and tucked underneath the pen's pocket clip was a folded piece of paper. I opened the note and read:
Emma's Christmas List
1. 1 package of large bully sticks
2. 1 package of medium size bully sticks
3. 1 package of travel size bully sticks - in parentheses, for the beach
4. Walks with Kittie every morning and night
5. Snuggle time on the couch when Kittie reads and watches movies
6. Play time with Brian - in parentheses, he always brings me a treat
To Santa Claus:
I am working on my memoirs and I'm hoping to publish in 2012. I have lived a full and rich dog life. I love my family. I want them to know what a pleasure it is being with them and how satisfied I am in my role as the family dog. Not every dog has had it as good as I have: Food in my bowl morning and night, daily walks around the neighborhood - Kittie calls them Sniffs, beds in every room. In parentheses, I love the new bath rug!
This Christmas I wish for every dog to have the chance to love a human. They need us right now. More than ever before we can show them the value of patience, the virtue of delayed gratification and the power of unconditional love. Dogs of the World, our time is now. In truth, our time is always now. If we can help our families see this truth, we will have been the best dogs we can be.
Wishing everyone a warm and snuggly cold-nosed Christmas and what was it Tiny Tim's dog used to say?
"God Bless Us Every Dog!"
Merry Christmas from Emma
In parenentheses, and from me ...