Freedom

February 5, 2018

(The writing of this blog follows the viewing of a moving documentary called Touched by Auschwitz and a bad dream.)

 

When I was young, my family lived in either a town or city with houses all around us. We had a small garden, neighborhood friends, a corner grocery, and an elementary school.

 

But we did not have a dog. “No,” Daddy said a hundred times. “Too much trouble.”

 

Over the years, I came to believe dogs were too much trouble.

 

My husband, on the other hand, had a precious terrier as a child. He believed all dogs were fun.

 

So where did that leave us?

 

I acquiesced. How different our lives would have been had I been set on staying dogless.

 

We now live in the country, and we have had more than our share of rescue dogs.

 

If we see a dog looking shocked after a fast town car has sped away, we both stare and turn the truck around to see if it’s still there, to see if it has a collar.

 

Usually the dogs cower when we pick them up.

 

A day or two later they eat, and a week later, they find a new freedom. I imagine it to be like getting out of a victim relationship.

 

Relief. If we can give them love and freedom, maybe that’s the best of who we are.

 

At least the dogs have a chance for joy here in the country.

 

Not always the case in a pound.

 

Can you tell I’ve read A Dog’s Purpose, that tail-wagging laugh-out-loud book? I thought that might be showing.

 

All of our dogs, like people, have had different personalities. One was able to swirl a perfect circle out of his blanket, another ran like a deer, another showed her feelings by lick, lick, licking.

 

They all grew a sense of belonging at our place.

 

We live in the hills where coyotes, bobcats, and wolves roam. Dangers all around. Still, we let them out for a few minutes every night.

 

We do not live in fear. Nor do they.

 

Whatever happens, we deal with it. It may be a skunk spraying a dog, or it may be a dog disappearing after chasing a coyote up the mountain.

 

I think one of the dogs we now have is as kind and gentle as I imagine a Taoist monk; the other one, as greedy as Ebenezer Scrooge for sunshine, always seeking more than her share.

 

Two dogs at a time. That’s how we do it. They adapt. After six weeks, they love each other. Always, they play and hang out together.

 

It’s February and cold. They sleep inside, but if the sun is shining, they want to go outside where they can run free.

 

Freedom. It’s important.

 

They can be troublesome, but they are worth the trouble, worth getting up and down for to open a door, worth the money on food, worth whatever the inconvenience.

 

So what would happen to them if we had to move? someone asks.

 

I cannot imagine leaving the mountains or river, so I say nothing for a moment. But I am not totally naive. Life can change in a moment.

 

If children lost their siblings, mothers, and fathers in the Holocaust, anything can happen. Cancer can happen, bad dreams can happen, depression can happen, sky and earth can fall away.

 

I suppose we’d beg and plead with neighbors to take them.

 

We wouldn’t want them to lose their freedom.

 

Blessings,

 

Pat Durmon

 

P.S. – Reply below the photo.

 

Photo of rescue dogs by Pat Durmon. February, 2018.

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