"It's as if a great bird lives inside the stone of our days and since no sculptor can free it, it has to wait for the elements to wear us down, till it is free to fly." Mark Nepo

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Dog Wings

Toby comes flying across the yard to my come command. He's actually coming for the treat, but these days it's the behavior, not the motivation, that we care about. I've gotten as far away from him as possible before calling. Not to test him. But so that I can have longer to watch his Dumbo ears dancing in the wind of his sprint.

I am madly in love with Toby's ears.

 The day we picked him out, his ears were the third thing I saw. The first and second were his color and his size. The darkest and biggest of the litter. And his ears. Oh his ears. Hanging like angel's wings on either side of that sweet face. Two of his brother's ears could have fit into one of Toby's.

Toby loves his ears, too. He'll lie on his bed not quite awake, not quite asleep, and suck on the end of whatever ear is on the bottom. The comfort of it is so great that he lathers the tip into a slimy dripping mess before he's satisfied enough to let sleep carry him into doggy dream fields. 

I find similar comfort in his ears. To bury my face in their warm buttered toast fragrance and airy eider down softness is enough to smooth the jagged edges off most any day. Flopping them playfully up and down, back and forth, up and down again, makes me happy in an unreasoned and unfathomable way.

These ears have their own language. 

Hung softly against his face as he wakes up they say, "Good morning. I missed you. The night was long."

Hung low and long during and after correction they say, "I'm sorry. I don't mean to be bad. I won't ever do it again. Please love me."

Pushed forward to frame his face in full glory they say, "I am a force to be reckoned with. Wanna play?"

Alternating soft and full glory when he sees us after we've been out of sight - no matter whether it's been a minute or hours - they shout, "I've missed you so much. I was afraid you weren't coming back. I'm so glad to see you."

Then there's the pushed back, aerodynamic look that occurs when he's tearing circles through the bird area and we're making it clear he's in for it when we catch him. Those ears are singing, "Look at me go! Isn't this fun?!"

He arrives at my feet, ears in the full glory position, bottom planted firmly on the ground, ready for the treat. I give him what he's come for, flop his ears and say, "good boy Toby-Tobe, what a good dog you are." 

Before he has a chance to finish his treat, I slip away - as far away as I can get in our yard - and call. "Toby, Come!"

My heart lifts as his Dumbo ears fly him to me again. And just as it does every time we play this game, a tiny flicker of my heart expects to see big air beneath his feet.


La La said...

These images you've created with words brought me such joy! Thank you.

This cat person now wants a dog!

Jerri said...

Toby is almost as gorgeous as your writing, Deb.

Carrie Wilson Link said...

Ditto La La and Jerri! You ALMOST have me re-thinking my stand on no pets!

kario said...

I can't wait to stroke those silky ears! Make sure they're not slobbery until after I get there, okay?

Anonymous said...

What beautiful writing. What a beautiful puppy. You totally get it, you totally get him. Wings of angel, an angel of total love and joy. It doesn't get much better!

FrecklesandDeb said...

Observant as always, you have captured the language of Toby's ears in a month! How wonderful that Toby's dumbo ear "wings" can express his emotions and speak for him!

M said...

I love the way you describe the different things that his ears say to you. The detail that you bring into your writing is incredible and I love it...as well as loving you.

I have to tell you (once again) that he is getting too big though. He is losing that puppy face, but he is so beautiful that I'm going to keep loving him anyway.

Kapuananiokalaniakea said...


I can smell Toby. I can see Toby. I can feel Toby.
You do a fabulous job of channeling his ears. PERFECT!

Jess said...

Love this. I will truly have to come see him before he gets too big. Can't miss out on the puppy part..

You are so lucky to have each other. But, glad you got a few days off, too. :)

See you (again!) soon!