Posted tagged ‘i love my dog’

Philosopher Dog: I Found Myself Astray

November 9, 2011

In the middle of the journey of our life
I found myself astray in a dark wood
where the straight road had been lost sight of.

– Dante, translated by Seamus Heaney

Was it in a tunnel in the North Woods that I found myself astray?

Where am I? Where am I going?

Sometimes I stop what I’m doing, and think.

Then I grow pensive among the asters.

I ruminate by ancient roots.

I reflect by still waters.

Does beauty change the meaning of a gate?

I believe nobility takes many forms.

I know beauty does. Sometimes it flames out, like ‘shining from shook foil.’

And sometimes there’s beauty in the gutter.

Or in an old tree stump.

But what is beauty?

Is there beauty in death?

I wonder, am I a dog dreaming he is a philosopher, or a philosopher dreaming he is a dog?

I can’t always tell reflection from reality.

 It’s time to get moving again. But where to?  I’ll choose a direction, and start walking.

I’ll go this way. Why not?

for RSH

New York Times Reveals Blog Dog’s Secret Identity; Mysteries Remain

July 3, 2010

Well, it’s finally happened.  We must have known that the identity of Esau, the blog dog, couldn’t stay secret forever. But like the seemingly innocuous suburbanites alleged to be working as deep-cover agents for the Russian government, we thought we could get away with our little subterfuge. No more.

Esau poses by miniature tepee

After eight carefree months masquerading as Esau, the Biblical hairy man who sold his birthright for a mess of pottage (tell me, what self-respecting canine wouldn’t?),  Esau’s identity has been revealed in the New York Times. In an article about this blog, A Dog Walked into a Blog, reporter J. David Goodman wrote, “The  four-legged star of the endeavor is Strider, the 8-year-old mottled mutt …”

Esau, aka Strider, or the mottled mutt, peers into the unknown

And so, just like that, the carefully cultivated persona of Esau is blithely stripped away, revealing … Strider.  But who, really, is Strider?  The New York Times seems eager to explore the identities, assumed and actual, of the Russian not-quite spies. Perhaps they should be asking the same questions about this apparently ordinary little dog: What do we really know about “the mottled mutt”?  Who is he? Where did he come from? What is he doing in New York City?

His origins are shrouded in mystery. A skinny Texas stray with no known identity, he was plucked in 2003 from impending doom at the Lewisville, Texas animal shelter by Casa de Critters, a tiny animal orphanage run by Becky Sue Parton.

Patrick Stewart as Captain Picard

Picard aka Strider

Dr. Parton named the dog Picard in honor of Star Trek’s Captain Jean-Luc Picard, perhaps due to the remarkable resemblance, as evidenced here. Or perhaps it was for another reason known only to her.

In a concerted effort to find young Picard a home, Dr. Parton  splashed charming photos of the dog across her website, describing him as lively, sensitive, cheerful, loving and intelligent. Who could resist?

Agility training by agiledogs; Flickr.com

But there was another side to Picard, one far more serious than his considerable talent for thieving socks. Presented by Dr. Parton as “an excellent candidate for agility training,” Picard turned out to possess physical skills that deep-cover suburbanites can only dream of. A first-class escape artist, he could sail over a five-foot fence in pursuit of a squirrel, and had once leaped from the window of a moving car because, well, he saw something interesting out there.

Yet despite his shadowy past and suspicious abilities, Picard found a new home.

Viggo Mortensen as Strider

Strider as Esau

There he was given the name of Strider by a 10-year-old boy smitten with Viggo Mortensen’s dark, hooded portrayal of the loner Aragorn, aka Strider, in The Lord of the Rings.

Which, I ask you, is the real movie star?

People often stop us on our walks. “What kind of dog is that?” they say.  It’s a larger question than they know. Esau, as I think I will continue to call him here, is a mutt of unknown ancestry about whose first year or two we know nothing, not even his name. But of his life now, we know many things.  He’s a vigilante rat-killer, an amusing companion, a tireless walker, an eager adventurer, an affectionate and forgiving friend, a patient and inspiring muse.

But enough about Esau/Strider/Picard, dog of multiple identities, known and unknown. It’s time to go for a walk.


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