ăJennifer Giandalone, April 3, 2002


            It stood at the base of the stairs, shifting its weight from side to side in a dance punctuated with pleading eyes, high-pitched squeaks and trills.  It had all the toys, yet it wanted more.  It deserved to be surrounded by a lake of toys the size of Michigan, and it would know each one personally by scent and sound of bounce.

            I stood at the top of the stairs, having been fooled into running up there to fish out a toy that had strayed from its reach, looking down upon the wriggling creature surrounded by an assortment of objects it keeps careful track of.  Kong, the ring, the rubber tug toy, the pacifier, and Fuzzy Tuggie (the toy that had been with her from her first day with us; a toy we need to sneak away from her time to time in order to wash it; the Fuzzy Tuggie that goes to the vet with her and on long car rides).

            It started with “Kong.”  Some beings have karma, some have attitudes.  It has “Kong,” a red rubber bounce toy designed with the idea humans should never enjoy an uninterrupted first morning cup of coffee. 

            It never fails to astound this human with what it finds to play with.  If not an official toy, then a rubber band fished out of a corner.  If the house is clean as a whistle, then it’s out to the swamp where it comes back wriggling with joy, dripping with mud, and wanting to cuddle.

This creature, this thing that has me so besotted, is a miniature longhaired dachshund named, “Peanut Brittle.” A silly, not even ten pound living fuzzy sausage.  Her eyes are deep pools of official nonsense one simply cannot argue with.  Her voice is all of the birds in the trees, all creatures on the forest floor, the bullfrogs in the pond, and all little children shrieking in playgrounds—a cacophony celebrating the essence of life.  She demands all near her partake, she pleads with all humans to shed their sensibilities, she cajoles, she teases, taunts and causes all the parts of me that smile to radiate and explode with joy.

I watch her as I sip cold coffee, convinced that God most certainly has a sense of humor.  I feel blessed.  I become humbled.  I run up and down stairs happily chasing “Kong.”

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