Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Animals, Souls: Reminders

I know.

Nothing is more boring than pictures of other folks' pets.  Well, except for pictures of other folks' vacations and other folks' families.  (And except that I often do enjoy the pictures friends send me of their pets.)

But I feel fatefully (and at that word, I recommend your bailing out of the rest of the posting if you aren't inclined to the bathetic) drawn to posting some pictures that have fallen into our laps lately through sheer happenstance.  And that's part of the story, actually--the story that, to a great extent, makes me want to share these pictures.

No, that's not it at all.  I've told myself to aim at total honesty on this blog: I'm sharing because I love these pictures!

Here's how we came by them.  Steve is talking last week to a new employee at his workplace, and in some mysterious way, the subject of our three canine family members, Flora, Crispen, and Valentine, comes up.  And faith and begorra and lo and behold and Jesus Mary and Joseph, wouldn't it turn out that this new employee is one of the two women who rescued F., C., and V. in the broiling July of 2007?

After F. had escaped or been put out of a puppy mill, had given birth to seven pups all on her own, and had sequestered the newborn puppies in a hole she dug to keep them safe and cool.  A hole under an abandoned trailer, over which she pulled a piece of plywood to protect them.

Though she was starving, losing teeth due to the starvation, and dying with a ravel of heart worms wrapped around her heart.  And weighed less than 20 pounds, a tiny size for a corgi.

We had never known who found our three dogs other than their Aunt Laurie, who is the one from whom we got the three through the good graces of the rescue operation she helps to run.  Now, thanks to the amazing serendipity of Steve's recent discovery that he's working with their other Aunt Rescuer, we have a whole new set of pictures from shortly after their rescue.

The one above is little Val the Foe of Gardens.  Who continues on a daily basis to rip apart entire rows of our neighbors' gardens as we walk the three dogs to the park each afternoon.  And for whom Steve has a special soft place in his heart, since he thinks Val is frail and more susceptible to ill-health and an impaired life span than the other two.  Val often seeks Steve out after our walks, on which he runs with wild abandon through the park, and Steve tells me he can feel Val's heart beating irregularly as he cozies up to Steve following the walks.  Because Val cannot keep weight and often shuns food, Steve slips him special treats the others don't get--fresh-ground hamburger from Steve's hand, which he'll eat only when fed by Steve's hand, for instance.

And yesterday, as we set out for our walk, a tiny, exceedingly lively little close-clipped white dog runs up to us.  He seems to be a poodle mix and is clearly lost and with no tags or identifiers.

We put him inside our back yard, which is fenced, and take our walk, worried about what to do with him and whether we can find his owners.  (Turns out he belongs to folks in the rental house across the street from us, who are new and whom we hadn't yet met.)

As we finish our round through the park and set out through the warren of streets that lead back home, Steve asks me, "Is that a statue or a real deer?"  He inclines his head to the crepe myrtle-lined hillside leading up to the domed water reservoir that is ensconced in the park in which we walk.  

I blurt out, "It's a statue."  Because it's totally still.  And because I can't imagine a real deer here in the thickly populated heart of the city, though my aunt often sees as many as four or five grazing in her back yard, which is also in a settled neighborhood inside the city.

But I can't also imagine anyone putting a kitschy statue of a deer up there on the hillside, where it would have no purpose at all other than to be vaguely ornamental.  And as Steve points out, if you watch its eyes carefully, they're following us as we walk past.

The deer remains there in total stillness all the while we pass by.  It seems completely unafraid.  It's magnificent, if tiny.  I worry about what will become of it, with all the busy streets it would have to pass if it left this area.

Unless, that is, it lives in the woods that run on the north side of the park down to the Arkansas River--though, again, there's a major street with four lanes that it would have to cross to pass from those woods to the wooded area along the river.

Animals.  An afternoon full of animals and reminders.

The soul is, in Latin, anima, and I have thought when I dream constantly of animals--of vulnerable animals, soft animals that demand my attention, lost animals crying out for love--I am dreaming of my soul.  And of the needs of the soul, which tugs at our consciousness through dreams to remind us that it's there and deserves to be noticed.

Or which leaps into our minds through new-found pictures of our beloved animal family when two members of the family were mere babes.  Or through spry little lost dogs needing to find their owners.

Or through a small deer standing in complete statuary composure beside a branching crepe myrtle tree on a hot summer afternoon, in the heart of a city.

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