Today's post features the work of my brother-in-law, Jim, who, after composing the opening remarks, recklessly left it to me to devise captions for the individual photos. Good thing his partner, Katherine (Paul's sister), appears in most of these shots, or who knows to what depths of cheeky humour I might have sunk. ;-)
Instead, I thought I would combine the photos with a charming dog poem by Erica Jong — a writer to whom Paul and I owed the opportunity, a few years ago, of giving a substitute keynote talk at the San Miguel Writers' Festival in Mexico. Ms Jong was meant to be the headliner, but she called in sick at the last minute. Paul and I were spending the winter in San Miguel de Allende and were scheduled to do readings and workshops at the festival, but we ended up stepping into the sizeable Jongian shoes and giving a talk on versions of literary success, of all things. We had a great time.
And now, without further ado ... over to Jim and Erica!
Some of you may have noticed Freddie's little cousin, Dusty, in earlier blog entries. Today she is stepping out of Freddie's shadow and taking a turn in the spotlight, accompanied by her human pet, Katherine, and their cameraman, Jim. They'll be taking us on a tour of her favorite walk, Camosun Bog.
Everyone was hoping that the fog wouldn't lift (well, Jim was anyway) so we could do a Fog-Bog-Dog-Blog. But it did so you only get a Bog-Dog-Blog.
Now that we've got THAT out of the way, let's go for a walk …
by Erica Jong
For I will consider my dog Poochkin
(& his long-lost brothers, Chekarf & Dogstoyevsky).
For he is the reincarnation of a great canine poet.
For he barks in meter, & when I leave him alone
his yelps at the door are epic.
For he is white, furry, & resembles a bathmat.
For he sleeps at my feet as I write
& therefore is my greatest critic.
For he follows me into the bathroom
& faithfully pees on paper.
For he is almost housebroken.
For he eats the dogfood I give him
but also loves Jarlsburg and Swiss cheese.
For he disdains nothing that reeks —
whether feet or roses.
For to him, all smells are created equal by God —
both turds and perfumes.
For he loves toilet bowls no less than soup bowls.
For by watching him, I have understood democracy.
For by stroking him, I have understood joy.
For he turns his belly toward God
& raises his paws & penis in supplication.
For he hangs his pink tongue out of his mouth
like a festival banner for God.
For though he is male, he has pink nipples on his belly
like the female.
For though he is canine, he is more humane
than most humans.
For when he dreams he mutters in his sleep
like any poet.
For when he wakes he yawns & stretches
& stands on his hind legs to greet me.
with supreme abandon.
For, after he eats, he is more contented
than any human.
For in every room he will find the coolest corner,
& having found it, he has the sense to stay there.
For when I show him my poems,
he eats them.
For an old shoe makes him happier than a Rolls-Royce
makes a rock star.
For he has convinced me of the infinite wisdom
For, thanks to Poochkin, I praise the Lord
& no longer fear death.
For when my spirit flees my body through my nostrils,
may it sail into the pregnant belly
of a furry bitch,
& may I praise God always
as a dog.
Clearly Dusty knows who her Divine Being is!
Thanks to Jim, Katherine, and Freddie's best puppy pal, Dusty, for the walk through beautiful Camosun Bog (out UBC way, off of 16th Avenue — definitely worth the trip if you're in Vancouver) ... and thanks to our old pal Erica for singing the praises of pooches (I hope you've recovered from whatever was ailing you)!
To wrap up, we have an unauthorized photo of our photographer. Check out Jim's non-doggy work, including a recent trip to Japan, at his website/blog.