Run out of the national forest, stinking like wet hound and cedar boughs, your right dewclaw ripped and hanging by a shred of skin, and follow your nose right into your new grandmother’s kitchen. Your forever home.
Wag when she gives you bacon.
Wag more when she puts the cast-iron frying pan on the floor. After the pan is clean, indicate how much you love bacon grease by shoving your snout into her crotch.
When she tells you to sit, sit.
When she finds out your previous name from the post office clerk, and uses it because you stole cranberry bread from the table, hang your head: “Robert Moose.”
Every morning, escort her to the kitchen. While she prepares your kibble, sit like an emeritus professor of German literature with a specialization in Hermann Hesse. Buddha dog. Try to stay calm while she scoops an over-flowing cup in your bowl, but scramble once it is on the floor.
Resume your post next to the toaster. Wag once when the toast pops up. Escort your woman back to the bedroom, jump on the bed. Take the crusts with your soft bird-dog mouth. Wag more. Thump, thump, thump.
Stay at the bottom of the bed until she pats it, then cautiously wiggle squish yourself in between her and her husband, the three of you in a row, three humans ready for the day.
Breathe deeply. Sigh. A little drool.
When she is gone, you will still get toast crusts, but no one will remember she always fed you bacon, too.
When you are gone, they will remember.
Renée E. D’Aoust’s first book of essays--Body of a Dancer (Etruscan Press)--was a finalist for Foreword Review’s “Book of the Year.” D’Aoust teaches online at North Idaho College and is the Managing Editor of Assay: A Journal of Nonfiction Studies. She lives and hikes with her husband and mini dachshund in Switzerland. Please visit www.reneedaoust.com and follow @idahobuzzy.