Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Life and Times...of a Dog

"When the Man waked up he said,
'What is Wild Dog doing here?'
And the Woman said,
'His name is not Wild Dog any more,
but the First Friend,
because he will be our friend
for always and always and always.'"
- Rudyard Kipling


I feel fur brush against skin, a comingling of human and animal hair. The couch reverberates with warm breathy snores, disrupted by a gentle oomph and contented sigh accentuated by the occasional warm sleepy head nudge. Her presence is warming in more ways than the heavy weight she pushes against me trying to get as close as humanly possible.

I get nostalgic this time of year; it’s her birthday and the anniversary of my awakening. Sounds colossal describing our beginnings this way - the pure simplicity of need that attaches us in more ways than not. Need, is such a heavy handed word. We two souls, hers and mine, are to each other a kindred friendship made to last a lifetime.

On December 12th, 2006, Pickles entered my life for the first time and wove her spell.

What’s so special about her? Besides the fact she’s a Katrina survivor or quite literally my ears? She’s the embodiment of compassion and life. For those who don’t know our story - I’m deaf and she’s my working dog. Trust me, I didn’t realize the possibilities either until a thing called need, pointed me in her direction. Nor did I understand, sometimes gifts of spirit arrive in the most unexpected guise.

Where did we (dog and woman) begin? - In stillness. It’s no secret I loathed my decent into silence. Hatred appropiately defines my demeanor in those days. So much so, I locked myself away from the world at large. To me going deaf had been a death of sorts and I mourned the loss of my hearing, the life I knew…and then along came Pickles. She was the animal doppelganger to my personality. She’d lost everything in Katrina, her home, her forever family…yet…she stood before me grinning as only a dog can and defied the rules of my closed existence with a challenge in her eyes to be more than my deafness.

Who I am today, started with her: The writer who learned to hear with her eyes. The woman who she (Pickles) taught to dare the impossible, and best friend (to a creature thankfully not human). Never did I imagine the life lessons, such a loving, four legged creature would portray.

You can’t train a bond like ours. Training doesn’t teach a dog to sit beside your bed all night worried when you’re sick (I woke up one morning to a red eyed pup that hadn’t slept a wink, with her head nestled over the edge of the bed). Nor does training teach comfort, laughter, kindness, or any of the numerous daily life lessons that dog and woman alike share.

Like the holiday season itself, there is a hint of something more between us. So with great pleasure I wish you - Happy Birthday Pickles! I couldn’t ask for a more loyal friend and mischief maker.

To everyone else, I wish you all the beauty your hearts can hold, all the spirit and lessons of a dog named Pickles, and words a plenty from a writer who appreciates the small things. Happy Holidays! I’ll see you in the New Year.



  1. Happy Birthday to Pickles!

    Beautiful, heartfelt post, Indigo. I have an animal post today as well, but a little different.

  2. This is a beautiful post!! Happy Birthday Pickles

  3. Happy Birthday Pickles!! And a very Merry Christmas and Holiday Season to you and your family....

  4. Happy Birthday Pickles and a good New Year together to you both.

  5. Happy birthday, Pickles! And now I'm going to go hug my dog Hudson. Thank you for that beautiful post, Indigo.

  6. Happy Birthday Pickles! Animals are such wonderful creatures, aren't they? I love my little doggie Ferris with my whole heart :)

  7. This is a beautiful post. She sounds like a wonderful, amazing dog. Happy Birthday, Pickles!

  8. I am so pleased Pickles came into your life. To say dogs are kindred spirits is understating it. So often a dog knows you better than you do yourself.

  9. This was a great tribute to a great friend. She is definitely a 'rescue dog'... she rescued you from yourself!!

    Happy anniversary, Pickles!!

  10. Love and birthday hugs to Pickles! I'm such a dog fanatic!

  11. Aw, that was sweet. I wish you Happy Holidays, Indigo (and Pickles too). :)

  12. Happy Birthday Pickles..happy anniversary to you both on your years together..may you enjoy the holidays snuggled together in front of the fire, or elsewhere, bringing in the New Year more fond memories to be made. HAPPY HOLIDAYS!!!!

  13. Beautiful heartfelt post, Indigo.

    Happy Birthday Pickles!

    A truly magnificent furry friend :)

  14. Happy Holidays to you all too!!!

    Happy Birthday to dear Pickles!!!!
    Love and peace to you both!

  15. awwwww. i know how much you love pickles, she is a beautiful dog!

    Happy Holidays, my friend. Love you so much. xo

  16. glad to see ol pickles is hangin in there.

  17. This tugged on the heartstrings so much. Such a beautiful post. But most of all ... Happy Birthday, Pickles!

  18. Pickles looks so much like my Tootsie. She was a battered escapee from some unnamed torture and wound up in my yard. Her beard is now white and unseemly, but she doesn't seem to mind as it matches her underarm hair :)

    So glad you found each other.

  19. Happy Birthday to Pickles..!
    Long may she be a comfort for you and you her.

    Jeanie xx

  20. Beautifully written. I'm so glad you two found each other! ((Hugs))

  21. happy happy birthday to sweet pickles. that face! please give it a kiss for me, will you?

  22. Aw I want to give Pickles a giant hug for being such a good friend to you. Happy birthday Pickles, and Merry Christmas, Indigo!

  23. Happy Belated Birthday Pickles, scratches under both ears :o)

  24. Love this. You need to stop making me tear up with your beautiful posts, Indigo.

    Animals really are our saviors sometimes, aren't they?

    Happy belated birthday to an adorable Pickles. ;)

  25. It is beautiful what you and Pickles have. Dogs are the most wondrous creatures. I wish you and Pickles a joyous Christmas. And also wishing you the best in the New Year.

  26. I am enjoying Christmas right now and got to spend time with my best pal Penney (I just call her Penners)... it was wonderful. She is the coolest dog. Thanks for reminding me of that! Hope you and yours have a very Merry Christmas Indigo!

    God Bless,

  27. Idogo I am so so happy for you and Pickles. I first learnt about Hearing Dogs when I worked for the RNID in Bath indeed one of our tenants had one of the very first Hearing dogs given to the deaf in the UK. it was a wee little dog and the difference it made was unbelievable..Like your Pickles it brought a whole new world into her life.
    God Bless you both..
    Love Sybil xx

  28. Happy belated birthday, Pickles.

    This is beautiful. Sometimes I don't know how to describe my relationship with my animal companions, but you did so wonderfully.

    Happy holidays!


Thank you for giving my silence a voice, my muse your words, and taking the time to discover my prose.