Excerpts from Amusing to Profound


SPARKLE: It was the middle of the night in February 2008 when she walked into the bedroom after being outdoors—her face was cold and damp as she nuzzled my hand. “The new medicine isn’t working. Please tell my doctor to help me go there and stay.” I told her that if she felt the same in the morning, her daddy and I would take her. Still sitting by my bed when I wakened a few hours later, she looked up at me and said, “I feel the same. You said you will take me.”

She lay quietly on my lap during the ride to the hospital, but once there, she was as frisky as a puppy, sniffing in the back rooms as excitedly as if she were tracking a rabbit or a squirrel. Had I so terribly misunderstood what she told me? But when Monica, our treasured veterinarian, came in, Sparkle lay down and Bob and I sat beside her. She put her head in my lap and looked up at me. “Thank you, Mommy. Please tell Daddy and my doctor thank you.”

FRUITY: Before we started off to the groomer’s, Fruity emptied his bladder and bowels, but a few minutes into the drive, the car suddenly smelled like a baby’s freshly filled diaper. “Fruity, do you have to do more two poo?” “Yes! Can’t you smell that big gaslet?”

I really doubt that he knows how often what he says breaks me up, but one time after I told him “I love you, Fruity,” he said, “I know you do. It’s because I make you laugh.”

BRILLO: He had told me often enough that Cloudy’s yapping annoyed him, but one day his objection came in the form of a raucous outburst. When I told him to stop, he was just making Cloudy bark louder, he said, “Well, he pisses me off.” “Brillo! I can’t believe you said that!” “You and Daddy say it all the time.”

It was later, though, when he told me that Big Dog teaches dogs to listen carefully when people talk and to pay attention to what they think because they don’t always say what they really mean. Brillo said it is from people’s conversations and thoughts that he learned words and when to use them. Another of Big Dog’s instructions was not to start a fight, but if another animal did, he had to fight bravely. He told me he takes his boss dog job seriously, but he doesn’t have to be mean to do it because all the dogs mind him.

SUMMERTIME: It was during one of our walks that I told him, “I know you like to go walking, Summertime.”

“I LOVE to go walking! I love it next. First I love to eat.”

“But you love Daddy and me, too.”

“That’s a different kind of love. That’s the kind of love you FEEL. The
other’s the kind of love you do.”

Not all of our conversations were as serious as that. One day when I was bathing him in the shower with me—a frequent event that he wasn’t fond of—I told him that as soon as we were finished, he would be beautiful. “I don’t see how. I’ll just be wet.”

PRINCESS: In one of our early conversations, I asked what she does when she goes “there” to visit.

What do you mean?”

How weird! All of the other dogs who have talked with me know exactly what “there” is—as well they should, it’s their designation!—but this super smart girl doesn’t know?

“I mean, what do you do when you visit the spirit world?”

“I don’t visit there, I live there. I have two homes, here and there, and I go back and forth.”

I told her that the dogs who left our family before she came live there all the time.

“No they don’t, not all the time. Sometimes they’re here.”

“What do they look like when they’re here?”

“I know you can’t see them. Sometimes they look like lights dancing around in the air.”

“How do you know what dancing is?”

“I learned it when I watched those pictures and the people said they are dancing.”

Bob and I weren’t fans of Dancing with the Stars. I had seen it for a minute or two when I walked into the room and that program was on—probably he had been watching something on that channel before he’d left the room. Not that any of that mattered—it was Princess’ noticing and remembering that stunned me. I told her she was very observant.

“What does observant mean?”

“It means that you notice things and remember them.”

“Oh. Thank you. I’m glad to know another new word.”

Amusing to Profound - My Conversations with Animals I and IIAmusing to Profound
My Conversations with Animals I and II

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