Dear Goddamned Beagle,
I’m sorry. What more can I say?
Human lives are different than dogs’ lives in several ways. For starters, after you get up in the morning you eat and then nap. After we get up in the morning we do things like brush our teeth, go to work, clean the house, pay bills, and buy dog food and other food and objects that certain dogs will either eat, attempt to eat, or just use as ammunition in a war of Look At Me that they will always win. Absolutely nothing can get me to ignore you walking across my field of vision carrying, say, a Louis Vuitton handbag you’ve climbed up a shelf to get, climbed down with, and are carrying to the couch to explore the interior of. Although you do look well in Louis Vuitton.
Humans like their things, while dogs either eat, bury, or defile their things. Even treasured plush toys, gently carried everywhere by loving dog guardians, become smelly, soggy petrie dishes of bacteria and slime – and you don’t care. What’s up with that, Beagle?
Anyway, we do share the reality that life can change without our planning or even wanting it to change. This is not always a bad thing – after all, that’s how we found each other. Believe me, I was not planning on having a Beagle companion in my life. Yet here we are, as happy as two beings can be when one is only slightly slower than the other but has opposable thumbs and so her usefulness evens the score.
In the last few months my work situation has changed, and I’ve discovered by clever process of elimination that I am now a writer full time. For me, this is an arduous, wonderful, humbling, quite terrifying and yet needed step in life that I work hard on every day, because being a writer and being a good writer are two very different things. Being a good, paid writer is still different from that. It takes hour after hour of learning and practicing, courses and coaching. This is necessary.
For you, this is bullshit.
Yes, I can hear you sighing as I hit yet another key, mutter another expletive, pull my hair and sob briefly into my hands at my lack of inspiration, and then leap up with some grain of an idea that, like all grains, ends up tasting like cardboard if I don’t do the right thing with it quickly.
Your nails, Beagle, really need to be shorter. Yes, this has been an ongoing battle for 6 1/2 years, and while I trim them often and only make you bleed most of the time (which you accept as just part of the process at this point), your black, brittle, fossilized nails make tap shoes out of your feet. When you’ve really had enough you come sit beside my chair and stare intently at me. I see you. I feel you, I’m trying to concentrate, I ignore you. This will not do.
So you start dancing, your feet tapping back and forth in anticipatory excitement at what will surely happen soon if I’ll just look at you.
My chair sits on a glass chair mat. It’s fantastic. It doesn’t curl or slide, I don’t trip over it like I did the plastic one I used to have, and it looks great – all I see is the rug below it, no mat at all, while my chair glides beautifully without catching on the rug. There is nothing as acoustically excellent for amplifying dog nails tap dancing as glass chair mats, it turns out. In case anyone needs to know. Noise cancelling headphones are helpless against this frequency.
If I do manage to ignore you, you don’t always hide your frustration well, Beagle.
I bought you a portable fireplace to keep you warm. It definitely sets a mood, and there is something about the way you sometimes stretch out in front of it that tells me you approve. But I do understand this career change was not what you had in mind. Swamp explorer, or at least dump picker would have been your preference.
Who knows, Beagle, what’s around the bend.
PS I’m hoping to gain followers on my Substack newsletter. Those Who Know have told me I need many followers to show publishers and agents that people read my stuff. Pieces of String Too Small to Use is my non-dog newsletter with musings on life – that will also contain some things about dogs. Of course. Because what is life without dogs?
If you’d consider signing up, the Beagle and I would appreciate it!