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Thursday, April 1, 2010

Puppy Love—Part II

Mat grew up with cats, and he loves them. To generalize, for not all cats are the same, I would say that he loves their sophistication, their poise, and their elegance. He appreciates the subtlety with which they demonstrate affection. He admires the standards to which they maintain themselves, and their attention to hygiene and to personal space boundaries.

Paisley's love is the sort that flows in a rushing torrent onto you, pouring with tidal force across your life and leaving you covered in muddy pawprints and ethereal clouds of clingy white hair. At eight, he is now reining in the pawprint effect, but with four on the floor he is still a raving lunatic in the grips of exaltation. He still rushes, headlong, into every new experience. He loves his life, and like a freight train barreling towards its destination he throws himself towards every new, or mundane and repetitive, moment.

Mat has never plumbed the depths of his heart and come up with a feeling of adoration for Paisley, but he has served nobly as the dog's God and Master these seven years. Paisley has never wavered in his high opinion of my husband, and Mat has never given the dog cause to doubt a reciprocal love. They are happy, Paisley in his worshipful devotion and Mat in his state of belovedness. I am not sure that Mat would want a dog of his own, were Paisley to pass on, but he has never driven the dog away. I love that about him.

With Paisley and Mirri, our His and Hers dogs, and Lula and Cloud, our little rat girls, Mat and I began to pack for a move west. It was the summer after our having been married. M was three, and would be spending a few weeks with her father before rejoining us in the Pacific Northwest, and Mat and I had both finished school and resigned from our various employments. Fitting the dogs and a few favorite houseplants in the back of our Geo Metro and packing our camping equipment alongside our travel rat cage, Mat and I set out on the long drive. I was five months pregnant.

 . . . to be continued . . .

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