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Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Twinkelope and Polly


Twinkelope is Jeff’s new name for Singer. He’s decided that she’s really a new species of animal that no one’s ever heard of before, originated in Canada. The rare Twinkelope, known to run through cedar in the frozen snowdrifts with its cousin, the antelope. But the Twinkelope has silken fur the color of a sunset on the coldest night of the year. Her eyes twinkle when she sees her bunny prey running across the crusty snow.

While we imagine fantastic beginnings for Singer, she is becoming more engrossed with her community here. For example, Singer has a fence relationship with Polly, the elderly Springer spaniel who lives next door. Polly, who’s always been saucy, forever asserting her dominance, is now almost too old to care much for Singer’s games. She’d just asserted her unquestionable superiority over Saylor when she died, and that relationship disappeared from her life. Then Singer came. Thank God for fences. They both ran the fence at each other, barking and playing who’s first, who’s best, who’s dominant. My neighbor saw right away that they were enjoying themselves. But I worried that Singer, the younger, bigger dog, was scaring Polly. So I watched her closely whenever she was in the yard with Polly and called her in when she started to bark.

Recently, I let go of my neurosis and just let Singer be herself. Now whenever she hears Polly bark, whatever the time or temperature, she lifts her head toward the yard next door. Like a child whose best friend has just called her to come out to play, her attention is engulfed with overwhelming desire to answer the bark. I oblige her and let her out. It is a sight to behold her streaking across the yard to the fence, where she engages in short bursts of fence fighting. I cannot help but to laugh. Alas, Polly is also getting hard of hearing, so sometimes she doesn’t even hear Singer coming out to greet her. She has a doggie door in her basement and goes in before Singer can reach the fence. But the thought counts, doesn’t it? I hope so. I hope it’s not too late.

This morning, I sang in Singer’s ear a favorite song of my childhood, “We’ll sing in the sunshine, we’ll laugh every day…” replacing “sing” with “play”. I know she doesn’t mind that I can’t carry a tune. She nuzzled me anyway. But I felt wistful like a parent always does when you realize you can’t provide your child with her every wish and need. I can’t provide the running and canine pleasure she was brought up on, romping in the northern woods with her doggie friends. All she has left is Polly, an old, deaf companion, who still thinks she’s the head of the pack. But Singer doesn’t mind. It’s me, the one who is so neurotic, that cares too much.