Wednesday, October 24, 2012

A story about a Dog

My oldest son returned a week ago from living in Berlin for the last six years. It was his first time to meet Boo, my dog.  He thinks I spoil her. I tell him I was much tougher raising little boys.
I'm not sure anyone agrees with my method of Boo training and it particularly fails to compare with the discipline of German dogs. My dog is no "Ich bin ein Berliner"  by breed or behavior. Perhaps my son is judging her by culturally different standards. Boo is better behaved than Smooch, our first dog, although it is amazing how similar they are in most other respects. 
Portait of Boo 
Regarding my relationship with Boo my son recently made reference to an Alfred Hitchcock movie. It was an amusingly erudite reference typical of my son's keen observation and intelligence.   I can't seem to get it out of my mind.
The reference was to Vertigo  a 1958 psychological thriller film directed by Alfred Hitchcock based on the 1954 novel D'entre les morts by Boileau-Narcejac. The screenplay written by Alec Coppel and Samuel A. Taylor.
Most people will know it as Alfred Hitchcock's Jimmy Stewart, Kim Novak movie.  You can go to Wikipedia and read the plot.  This guy falls in love with a woman who commits suicide.  He becomes obsessed with another woman, and attempts to dress her and style her in the image of the dead lady.  At the end of the movie we discover the woman is the same person in a twisted murder plot that ends in tragedy. 
But this is a dog story.
Smooch was a dog we adopted from my brother-in-law. I was close to Smooch but she was not my dog. She was mostly attached to my youngest son and she was a good family dog. Smooch developed an illness and it became necessary to ease her pain and put her down.  No one wanted her to go through it alone, but nobody wanted to be there for it either.  As Father of the family, it was my duty to see Smooch on her way. I had been the "one in  charge" at the death of Peanut the rat,  Gilley the Frog, and Renfield the cat. For those events I only had to deal with the after math of death.  For Smooch my presence was required to be there for the moment. I never felt closer to Smooch than when she was drifting away in my lap. That experience affected me profoundly.  
We didn't have any pets for several years after that. I only wanted a dog if it could be exactly like Smooch in training and personality.  I doubted that we would ever find a dog like Smooch. If cloning was an affordable option I might have considered it.  If not Smooch, better to be without a dog.
A little more than a year ago I heard about a dog needing a home while I was winning at a poker game. The dog belonged to a celebrity friend of a friend. The dog was four years old, 20 pounds, trained, vaccinated and cute.  I asked what kind of dog it was and the poker hostess said, "Blond". 
At the encouragement of my wife I got a picture and more information on the dog.  She was a blond cockapoo who looked remarkably like Smooch.  In a few days when I finally met Boo it was love at first sight and she became my dog. Boo is so similar in personality I call her Smooch occasionally still.
Is my son right in his film comparison? Am I obsessing? Am I Jimmy Stewart and is Boo Kim Novak? Am I trying to reanimate puppy love lost, in the image of a new blond cockapoo? Am I trying to recast a relationship with Boo that I only had with Smooch for the last moments of her life?  Who would even make that connection to Vergtigo  and cause me to wonder but my loving son who has been gone for awhile?  
I'm under the delusion that I'm a complicated person, but the more I try to be opaque the more transparent I become. That is why we have family... to point out that fact.
As you were,
Jay

1 comment:

Kenny Croes said...

Me being a crazy dog person, there is no love less complicated than the love for a dog. I have a friend whose dog Speed Bump finally went to doggie heaven. Now after a year or so, he's raising a new pup, whose name is Hachi. But my friend catches himself calling the new dog "Bump" every now and then.