Anne Smith :: Blog for June 2010
As usual, the blog deadline creeps up and now it’s halfway through June! Where do I begin? I begin where I am; to begin at the beginning will take too much out of me. And you! I’m wide awake, sitting in a darkened room, trying to wind down and find peace after a brutal 2 weeks of stuff happening.
End of the year at school brought on a fantastic but very involved musical play, with its attendant dress rehearsals, notes to parents, and 4 performances, 3 separate achievement ceremonies, reports for over 80 students, and a bittersweet leave -taking of a position that I love but need to leave in order to fulfill my personal creative goals.
Our beautiful dog Sonny was struck and killed by a taxi in Central Park earlier in the month. Won’t go into that, or I will upset all of us. And it won’t do any good to linger on details. He was here, and now he is not. But in that great band of energy that circles around us eternally, Sonny lives and continues to love. And as I type, a sweet being we have named Luke is getting used to his new name and new home, where we choose to continue to love rather than grieve. Luke is a year old (give or take), Pit-mix that Marc and I discovered in a shelter on E110th Street. God bless the people who work and volunteer there. It is a stop-gap skid-row kind of last resort for strays. Heartbreaking, to walk through and face those beautiful lost spirits who only wanted a chance to be good, and were misunderstood, maltreated and betrayed by their masters. I can’t bear to remember the sad faces I saw, the pleading sounds and little bodies pressed against the wire cages. Luke (whose original name was “Tony”), is a beautiful rich brown color, with a distinctive white mark, like a crazy fork, on his head, a white chest, and white tips on his feet. His eyes are hazel. He reminds me of a bull calf. Marc and I couldn’t resist him. We had to wait a day for him to be neutered before we were allowed to take him home. It was raining a little bit the day we picked him up. “Tony” as he was still being called, lunged forcefully at the end of his leash, beating it out of the shelter, dragging Marc (who is no lightweight), down the sidewalk, his muscular hindquarters churning and rippling, his massive head swinging, like one of the mythical beasts from Avatar. The leash started breaking and we regrouped under a tree. Marc and Tony were panting. “Annie, this could be a mistake. This dog will be too strong for you.” Marc told me. “Let’s get a cab”. I stepped into the street, sans tough boyfriend and crazy Pit bull. A cab pulled over. When the driver saw Marc and the dog, he hesitated, pretending to have a problem with his meter. We couldn’t be discouraged and prevailed. Let me just say it was an unforgettable experience. None the weaker for having been sedated and neutered earlier in the day, a very funky smelling “Tony” thrashed wildly about on our laps in the back of the cab, attempting to climb through the panel into the front seat, freaking out the driver. It was 20 minutes of torture for everyone. We rolled up our windows in case he would try to jump out, and discussed our strategy for exiting the cab and getting the dog safely into the apartment. That night, when we took him to the dog run, there was no body there. We stepped inside and let Tony off his leash. Overwhelmed, he clung to us. We began walking around the perimeter and he followed, never leaving our side at first. After several laps, he gained confidence to leave us and sniff around. He broke into a run, and I haven’t felt so much joy in one moment as I did when I saw this dog free. The night air was soft and fresh. I can only imagine how he felt. Only 3 days with us now, Luke is gentle on the lead, walks right beside us, sits on command, and is insatiable in his need for affection and touch. He needs to be touched. And healed. And it’s healing us, too.
Can I tell you what I discovered after I chose the name “Luke” for this wonderful animal? Luke is considered the Patron Saint of Artists and Physicians. Historically, the apostle Luke was a doctor whose gospel chronicled the humanitarian acts of Jesus-The Parable of the Good Samaritan , the emancipation of slaves, the caring for the sick and dying. Now, if that isn’t the voice for strays everywhere, both animal and human, what is?
Until Next Time….love, Annie