July 30, 2010
I was an ugly, uncivil and melancholy child of twelve when I first experienced the Puppy Cure. My parents, no doubt at a loss, no doubt wondering what in the hell they could do to ease my loneliness and sorrow, bought me a cockapoo puppy. We’d had family dogs before, but Bennie was mine and he saved me in ways that would seem ridiculous to try and explain across the span of four intervening decades. But I know what the love of that little dog did for me and I’ve experienced it with other of my dogs since. The Puppy Cure – if we could only bottle and sell it in place of Paxil or Ritalin.
Today was a wretched day. It was another low point in a battle with personal demons that’s drained too much of my energy for the past month. Jealousy, pain, indignation, all of those unpleasant things hit me full force again today and I began that little struggle I sometimes have with myself: I’m a witch. I don’t have to sit here and take this. I came home on a mission. I would never consider cursing or hexing anyone, not because I’m such a “good” person, but because I respect the power of three. Any evil that I do will come back to me times three. It’s a powerful deterrent to some of my most passionate impulses. My mission tonight was to open a circle and cast a spell to thrust the heartache that’s been caused to me right back on its source. The unfair and unenlightened judgments they’ve formed, the cruel little games they play all the while playing up the Bambi eyes and a “who me?” expression worthy of the most saccharin of Disney princesses – I was going to send those nasty things right back to them with a little extra “umph”. Let’s see if they handle it any better than I.
But first things first, of course. I had to wait until dusk and I had Facebook updates to attend to. One of those posts was from my friends at Rescue Ink. I’ll post the link to the video below, but suffice it to say that a mini-documentary of a troubled man who had to put his faithful old dog to sleep had me weeping. “Weeping” sounds too gentle, actually. I was devastated. I’ve been there. I’ve held that noble head while life slipped away. I’ve kissed those velvet ears as they grew cold. In short, I was a mess as a result of this video.
Leaning on my desk, sobbing like I sometimes do when the pain of all those – human and non – who’ve slipped away from me becomes too much, I felt a nudge on my elbow. It was Slevin, of course. His big ol’ goofy face was wrinkled with concern. His eyes were like – well, if you’ve ever had a dog for your best friend, you know what I mean. He had that look your best friend gets when they know you’re in pain but have no clue how to help. His table-cleaning tail wagged slowly and he reached up and kissed me. Slevin isn’t much into giving kisses, so this was special.
And ah, the Puppy Cure once again! Whether it was the dog and the man in the video, or whether it was my own personal best friend doesn’t matter. How can we harbor resentment or anger in the face of all that unconditional love?
I’m still going to open a circle and I’m still going to do some ritual magic. But I’ll say a prayer of love for those who’ve hurt me and I’ll send my forgiveness out to them. It will be a begrudging prayer, don’t get me wrong. I lay no claim to Christian forgiveness and turning the other cheek. I’m a wronged person who’s angry and hurt, but I’m also a better person because of the animals in my life. I’ll pray extra hard that the person who’s toying with me has a pair of medicinal canine eyes looking up at them, opening their heart, when it seems like all the world is crashing down. They, like me, will understand that it’s not the world we hear crashing to the ground – it’s our prejudices, our pride and our pain. Gone with the lick of a tongue. Gone with the wag of a tail.