Wednesday, October 10, 2007
My Favorite Mistake
Shaka, and I had to think for a moment about this one. Shaka, my dog, is my favorite mistake. It melts the little butter pat of my heart to admit this. I didn’t want a dog, I was 19, lonely, married and depressed. I had come back to Atlanta to “start my life” after having a nervous breakdown in the big apple and roaming across the country putting the pieces back together. I decided Atlanta would be the city for me to start over in, although I was calling it “getting started” back then. Within 9 months I found myself way over my head in a relationship with a boy I loved. He loved me too, the only problem is that he hated himself at that time – and hey guess what, he took it out on me. He was no mistake though, and if he was – he wouldn’t be my favorite one. He gave me Shaka, more like told me that we were getting a dog. I knew I was too young, “just starting out”, and ambitious as a motha’ fuker. He insisted, I agreed to go and see the baby mixed pit bull pups and there she was. My Shaka, the one with the little white patch of hair on her back left leg. That’s how I remembered which one she was when I went back to collect her. On that first fall night I devised a plan for puppy picking. I pulled all of the baby puppies, one by one, away from the pack to watch what they would do. She was the only one that didn’t go running back. She walked forward. She was my dog, my soul, possibly my savior.
I went to pick her up a couple of weeks later when sufficient time had passed for her to nurse from her mother. She ran and hid and squealed and we had to lift the dog house in the back yard so that we could pull her out from underneath it. Her mother, a golden full-blooded, pitt – took a glaring stance at me as I scooped up her squealing baby pup. I simply explained to the mother that I would take very good care of her daughter. I kept eye contact with her as I backed slowly out of the yard. She almost had a look of relief, definitely an air of compliance.
About 4 weeks later that same mamma pup accidentally hung herself on her own leash while trying to jump over the back yard fence. She was hanging there in front of the puppies until the owner came home to find her like that, dogs squealing, tears falling.
My Shaka never had to see such a thing – in stead she set out on the journey of being raised by two extremely immature, people. We doted and loved, she was our everything. It would be unfair to say that she's now the only thing left– we have our memories as well.
She has lived with me alone for all of her precious puppy dog life, 9 years, save one year I spent abroad. She has been my best friend and companion for most of those years. I am sure I fucked her up good. This is the part when I say “at least it wasn’t a child I did that to”. I could have a nine year old – that hates me because I was really self-absorbed and screwed up for most of these last 9 years. Instead I have her, my Shaka, who still wags her tail and greets me at the door when I come home. She jogs with me. She comes over and lays her head on my lap if I come back after going away for a couple days. She gets in the bath when I tell her to. She eats her food on command and even learned how to “sit pretty”. I need and adore her and the harrowing thoughts of her demise are more than I can deal with most days. I don’t ever want to carry her lifeless body from the living room floor. I don’t want to burry her in the back yard with blinding tears blazing heated trails down my cheeks. I am not ready for that. I am not made of the stuff that can do that.
~How I Feel About Paris Today~
I think Shaka would fit in just fine in Paris. Except now she’s got arthritis and if we lived up a flight of stairs that would be difficult for her.