Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Proof Of God's Neutrality

Luky started this year (picture from January 2010) with a slight limp. We began giving him the anti-inflammatory, Rimadyl, and that helped a lot . . . though, if he was ever in any pain he never allowed it to show in his mood. He always maintained that gentle, loving, "living-bear-rug" demeanor I've come to know to be Alaskan Malamute.

By late Spring he was still excited to walk to the lake, but he didn't have the strength to get home. We had to stop and rest a number of times to make that final two or three blocks. Summer was hot, and I kept him inside most of the time. Like me, he would lie as close to the air conditioning vent as possible. But he was losing control of his hind legs very quickly.

No use belaboring the story. I'm the only one who reads this anyway - except John May, and he's gone now, too. Luky's last breath was as gentle as he lived, and I couldn't help thinking that if there is a God then the fact that an animal like this has to die - ever - is proof to me that He does not play favorites. If ever there was a creature that deserved to be here, simply by virtue of the innate goodness he contributed to the world by just napping on my kitchen floor, then Luky was that creature.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Showing Our Age

Luky turned 12 back in December - the 21st. It's probably worth celebrating the fact that this June, when he passes the 12 1/2 year old milestone, he will have given me a full year's extra companionship over his longest-lived brother, Pioyok.

He's moving slow. Arthritis is having its way with him, and this Summer will no doubt be tough. Anyone who loves dogs knows what I'm saying. It does not require a Malamute.

Friday, January 08, 2010

Werewolfs In Winter

Luky is frustrated with the current, seemingly incessant focus on Vampires. He’s not against the supernatural. He will watch Ghost Whisperer and Medium with me any time. (I have noted that the stars of both shows are women with attractive tops, and while Luky rarely expresses his interest in human females I recognize that his Pack mommy might be the model he’s looking for on TV.)

Still, any mention of Twilight, or Underworld, etc., (with obvious exception made for Lucian’s followers and offspring) will start him off on the “established” proofs of Wolf wisdom – a subject about which he is not only well versed, but apparently never at a loss for narrative. And I have to admit that none of the pop culture works – written or filmed – ever seem to describe the werewolf’s advantage in winter.

Gabriel (Luky’s younger human brother – Josh being the older) received the Twilight book series for Christmas from his aunt May in Louisville. Luky loves visiting up there over the holidays because our milder southern winter is jumpstarted a bit during that week. This year’s temp dropped into the low 20’s for a couple of walks – nothing like last year when I was forced to put on everything in my suitcase to watch Luky romp around through back-to-back days of below zero frigidity. Ironically, we returned to Atlanta to be met by a week of mid-teen temps that froze over most of Lake Avondale ( – at least enough to keep limbs, pine cones and other tree debris lying conspicuously atop the water level, and leave the ducks a couple of small bathing strudels (re that term, Luky credits experts in sea ice physics where thawing eddies are the result of something more dramatic than duck paddling).

Last night’s light snow has been preserved by the cold. There won’t be any snowmen or snowball battles with this sprinkling, but Luky loves the yard and lawn furniture covered with the icy white confection. I guess I have to agree.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Luky's Birthday

Yesterday, December 21, 2009, was Luky’s birthday. He turned 12. He’s still celebrating, so I have yet to hear his thoughts about being another seven (human) years older.

It seems ironic, but as brief as a dog's life might be - comparatively - a lot of interesting events have come to pass getting the two of us to this point. For example, we've shared four homes, though it feels like more due to a few extended visits. He learned to navigate the horse stables, music studios, quasi-professional kitchens, and numerous urban and suburban parks and natural expanses.

Of course, Luky suffers the same disadvantage of anyone born this close to the holidays. His birthday is generally overlooked for all the end-of-year celebrations. One of his canine pals - a girlfriend, as one must presume - Sky, a Border Collie from a neighborhood across town, came to stay for a few days. Sky is 12 also, so today's Lake Avondale ( walk was properly slow and respectful of shared arthritis.

Still, we enjoyed some frisbee chasing and Geese gawking. All in all, it was a bright, sunny, cool day, and perfect for shaking some fur among the fallen leaves.

Happy Birthday, Luky!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Our Reflections On “Dean Spanley”

Luky and I watched the 2008 film, Dean Spanley, together the other evening. He has not stopped talking about it since. According to him there are too many dog life accuracies for it (the story) not to have some root in reality.

Dean Spanley – based on the short novel, “My Talks With Dean Spanley” by the Irish fantasy author, Lord Dunsany (Edward John Moreton Drax Plunkett) – is a film of metaphysics and love, directed by Toa Fraser and featuring indispensable performances by Peter O’Toole, Sam Neill, Jeremy Northam and Bryan Brown. I’ve been forced to return to the cable box to view it at least twice again. In addition to my predictable response to its meaning of life-oriented message, I have to admit that, for me, part of the movie’s attraction is O’Toole’s dependable demonstration of our best intention of the term, “actor.”

Putting my own thoughts and reactions aside for now, I can only say that Luky has gone to a deeper place with the whole experience. He stops short of attributing sixth sense sorts of powers to anyone in particular – with the exception of Lord Dunsany (whom Luky is convinced must have held some spiritual connection with canines somewhere along the way) – but the argument I keep hearing from him is that, for whatever reason and by whatever mechanism, there simply is no way the Dean Spanley story could have been imagined and told without a human-dog mind meld of one kind or another.

I don’t even try to delve. He’s thinking and feeling something personal, and it’s leading him to ideas about Irish authors and fantasy literature. The last thing I want to do now is mention that Lord Dunsany’s family name, “Plunkett,” is also the name of O’Toole’s character, Peter Plunkett, in the 1988 haunted castle comedy, High Spirits. I’m afraid we’d be packing for a transatlantic flight.

Labels: , , ,


Saturday, June 21, 2008

No Caddies In The White House

Luky is back. He showed up for Father's Day. Apparently he's been on the lecture circuit throughout Europe and saw a good international flight deal offering 1st Class accommodations to philosopher canines, and he took it to be a sign that it was time to visit home . . . plus, he was running low on Milk Bones and the most recent shipping laws have hampered the receipt of his usual crate full.

We sat down to watch what we believed to be the final round of the US Open from Torrey Pines Golf Course. It turns out that the final round required an extra 19 holes on Monday, June 16, 2008, so we've been enjoying plenty of catch-up conversation.

He knows I've been very depressed of late. I always tell him it is largely due to his absence, but I think he knows I'm just pissed off about how we've let this country die. His inquiry about Father's Day was a valiant effort to change the subject, but it only reminded me of one of my regular thoughts about a former President in whom I actually believed.

"I feel really sorry," I said, "for George Sr."

"Oh, why is that?" he asked, though I think he knew where I was generally headed.

"Well, I feel like George Sr. is an intelligent man who took an extraordinary measure of integrity, and even wisdom, into the White House with him. In many ways, he honored and served all of humanity just as we would expect the leader of 'the most powerful nation on Earth' to do. Indeed, I believe his post-Gulf War vision was far grander than many of us ever realized, and it was a vision that - with any proactive effort whatsoever - would likely have changed the planet!"

"Well, he's still got a lot of followers throughout Europe," Luky dropped the hint that there might be other topics to discuss.

"The problem is, especially on Father's Day - not that you are necessarily up on human family trees or homosapien holidays - but I cannot help thinking this must be a terribly painful day for George Sr."

Luky has obviously picked up the habit of pointing at raised arms during his lectures. He raised his paw in my direction - which I took to be a request that I elaborate on my comment.

"Think of the internal conflict he must have felt," I began, "even back during the first big race in 2000. We have to assume that Senior would not have wanted to stand in the way of this great honor to his son, and yet he must have known the job was too much for a kid of Junior's limited intelligence and integrity. And then on top of it all he was forced to watch his own legacy - everything associated with the family's name in America - turn to ash, sullied with the filth of thought and action resulting from Junior's choices, many in direct opposition to the more honorable philosophies envisioned by his father.

"I mean things like the support of secret torture houses and just the practice of torture . . . who could ever have dreamt that the United States would become a member of the evil empire? Certainly not George, Sr., who seemed to stand for everything to the contrary!"

"For all you know," Luky interjected, "those revelations were surprises to your President as well. Maybe all of that was the work of someone else, like Dick."

"All I know is that this administration has been full of the rhetoric of the flag and freedom while doing everything in its power to undermine this country and what it used to stand for . . . and along the way, destroy the legacy of this President's very honorable father. Things like our wholesale attacks on the Geneva Convention and almost any other internationally recognized code of moral conduct, not to mention the secret, persistent and illegal assaults on the personal freedom and privacy of our own brother citizens. And then, remember what was perhaps the most egregious singular example of affront to his dad . . . the purposeful effort to endanger the lives of some of our most vital servants, and untold secret and vulnerable connections, through the exposure of Valery Plame Wilson. That action is particularly heinous in that Senior himself defined it as the paradigm of treason. . . . and then to sit there and promise to prosecute the guilty party . . ."

Luky has the knack of getting more and more thoughtful and contemplative with every new erg of frustration I express. He was being very quiet now. He finally spoke up and asked if I wanted to go mark some shrubs. I could not tell if he was joking, though he was right to assume that my state of mind would easily permit my taking a liberal wee on the world.

"I think the country will survive this administration," he said softly after a few minutes of silence.

"Well, the country is one thing - and we'll see if you're right - but given the holiday I also think about the family. I used to think about the kids of Presidents and what they must go through. It's odd to find myself feeling such sympathy for the father of one!"

"I will say one thing," Luky's voice raised a bit to offer a new thought, "you know my Lupine friends usually raise and keep fools within their packs to diffuse tensions. I guess it's somewhat the way humans once retained court jesters to relieve animosity and discord."

"You're right," I said. "I've seen that behavior many times on Animal Planet and the Science Channel. Maybe we aren't that far removed from the wiser species." I smiled at Luky expecting him to return the expression.

He pursed his lips, pushing air through his whiskers as he is wont to do just before an important comment.

"The only difference," he said, "is we usually keep our fools close to the pack so as not to endanger us all with their idiocy. We would never think to promote them to the highest position in the nation."

"Right," I said, looking back at the TV to watch Tiger strategize his final birdie putt so carefully it felt like a laser was cutting a line into the green from his ball to the hole. "Man, I wish Junior had stuck to the amateur leagues and stayed away from the pros. And I'll bet his dad does, too."

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Selfish Voters Day?

Luky has not been posting (dictating) lately. His eyebrows have been twitching like crazy since the first of the year. He says '07' is a big year for us, and he's trying to get his thoughts together.

His silence was finally broken just over a week ago when the USA Network aired the 131st Annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, ( and, once again, the judges overlooked Malamutes as "Best" - that is, best in their group, The Working Dogs, and thus, the Best in Show competition. He was not depressed, but his frustration was obvious, and he's taking it out on me philosophically . . . I'm not really surprised, but he is definitely talking with an air of intensity that I've not seen before.

He's made a list of topics he wants "us" to consider. Without personal knowledge of Luky, there's simply no way to prepare the reader for what's to come!

He started off yesterday morning, in honor of President's Day, with his considered opinion regarding the types of human American voters - and why we wind up with the president's we do.

According to Luky, taxes and God are the two determinants that move the largest voter blocks. There are many others, but these two, he says, are the ones that get us into the most trouble.

Luky says that many, though not all, of the most ardent anti-tax voters are very bright people. Of course, many of them are successful, and thus they have incomes or holdings which they seek to protect - so, it's not surprising that many of those humans are also intelligent. The problem is, as Luky puts it, anti-tax humans are, by definition, selfish.

"Okay . . .?" I asked, "Does 'selfish' necessarily mean, like, 'evil'?"

"No, of course not. That's not the point. Remember, humans tend NOT to have much sense of balance. They fish the oceans to the very last fish, strip mine and deforest the land to the very last spot of green, push the fluorocarbon envelope until the ozone is displaced - the illustrations are too numerous. The point is, anti-tax voters will typically not consider the degree of insanity they may coincidentally empower with their vote. Humans have bestowed political power upon some horrific despots throughout history, yet it's difficult to imagine that any one of them would, upon his platform denunciation of taxation, be automatically dismissed by anti-tax voters."

"I've heard your thoughts about 'W', so while I know you're not a fan, I can't believe you're comparing him to the Pol Pot's and Adolf's of the world."

"No. This one lacks the intelligence to execute that kind of tyranny, but your examples are not that crazy. Given the Devil they know, and the Angel they don't - as long as the Devil declares a hatred of taxes, the anti-tax voter will vote for him and simply hope to influence the administration toward a conscience. Of course, influencing is not much of a voter capability in an environment where big company political contributions allow for credit card companies purchasing the authority to write banking legislation, and oil companies buying the ability to set energy policy."

I stopped for a second and thought to myself - obviously, this is something Luky has been thinking about.

"So," I started, with a sigh, "are you criticizing voters, taxes, or politicians?"

"Taxes come and go. At the end of the day, even anti-tax humans - at least those with more brains than the average Chihuahua (Luky does not respect dogs in the Toy Group, but I think it's because they tend to be both smarter AND tougher than he is) - understand that zero Taxes implies zero Street Repair and Infrastructure, Civil Authority, Military, and so on. No, my complaint - and hey, it's your human government . . . clearly, Wolves have little to say about the running of things - but my complaint is that if a human is going to operate by such clearly selfish motives, then why would they even pretend to be seeking a better nation?"

"A better nation?" I asked, feeling as if Luky had changed the subject somewhat. "We are talking about taxes, right?"

"No - keep up, would you?" (See? That's what I mean when I say "air of intensity. . .") "The point is, taxes may well be a bad thing - and certainly, even if they are good, there's a point at which they would be bad. However, regardless of how one feels about taxes, if a human voter is disposed to grant his vote based on such a self-centered consideration - to the point that he might vote for a Pol Pot on an anti-tax platform - then clearly this is a voter who is way too selfish to have the best interests of the country at heart. So why would he ever claim that he was voting for a better nation?"

"Luky," I said with as much resignation as I could emote . . .

"Yes," he responded in his professorial tone, his chin whiskers looking even more like a beard now that he's actually nine years old.

"Is there going to be a test on this?"

"Oh, definitely! I might not live to see it, but you will."

I didn't have it in me to tell him I was joking. The truth is, I think he knew that but didn't want to play along. He is just a lot more intense these days.