February 8, 2002 - Friday
Abbey and Nietzsche
Abbey was half Sharpei and half mini-lab. She was named after a boy named Edward. Her sister, Nietzsche, was also named after a boy, this one named Friedrich. The woman I was married to had brought them home as puppies one day, the remnants of an unplanned litter produced by her friend's dogs.
A few years later, shortly after my wife decided that she didn't want to be married anymore and left, Nietzsche somehow scaled the backyard chain-link fence. I didn't go to work for a few days as I walked and called; drove up and down and all around; put up flyers all over the place; checked the Humane Society and the pound the next day, and every day after for longer than reasonable. She was just gone. I never saw Nietzsche again.
Abbey kept looking, too. When we were home between searches, she'd hear something - or maybe hope something, bolt outside and look around, then walk slowly back in a minute later and lay down, not looking at me.
After my first day back to work in the wake of this, I came home to find that Abbey had shit in her bed and apparently tried to hide it, but ended up covered in it; she'd somehow rubbed the top of her head raw, the fur gone and pink bloody flesh exposed; and she was bleeding from two of her nails. She was quivering and cowering, in deep pain and now ashamed as well, but happy to let me clean her up.
She'd never been alone. Everybody was leaving her, one by one. Why would she think that I'd be coming back? Nobody else was.
I knew that my wife was staying at the place Abbey and Nietzsche came from, and that there were other dogs there that Abbey knew and liked (including her parents). It was also clear that I wasn't going to be able to hang onto the house, and I had no idea where I was going to end up. I called the place my wife was staying and asked to speak with her, and she agreed that Abbey would be happier there. Which is also what she had thought for her own behalf, of course. And I think she was probably right on both counts. This is what I choose to assume.
She drove over from Minneapolis. Abbey was so thrilled to see her, jumping up and making little happy yippy noises, her tail thrashing in violent circles. The walking-collar and leash came out, such joy! I was miserable.
I stood on the steps outside the front door, watching as they got in the car. Abbey jumped into the passenger seat, sat down and looked at me through the window. We stared at each other as the car drove away and turned the corner.
That was the last time I saw Abbey.
Excerpts from the book Epitaph for a Desert Anarchist by James Bishop, Jr., which I'd been putting off reading for quite a while.
His skill at playing the provocateur first became evident when he was fired as editor of the student newspaper at the University of New Mexico in 1951 because of an article titled "Some Implications of Anarchy." What enraged authorities was the quote on the cover that was mockingly attributed to Louisa May Alcott: "Man will never be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest."Last month, Jessamyn had a sidebar link to an article at Utne.com called "Thanks, Ed Abbey." Worth reading.
Responses - 5
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Sure, I know all of the characters in it, but I bet I'd think that was mighty fine scribin' regardless.
Feb 8, '02 - 12:59 PM
Thank you (especially in light of stuff like this).
Yeah, that was unenhanced, bald-faced autobiography. I think about them dogs with frequency. I'm not sure what the worst part is: not knowing what happened to Nietzsche, or the memory of the look on Abbey's face as she rode away.
Your Divorced-From-Animal-Husbandry Host
Feb 9, '02 - 10:39 AM
Feb 11, '02 - 12:41 PM
Feb 11, '02 - 12:41 PM
...which is to say, aw, gee (blush), thanks...
Feb 11, '02 - 12:42 PM