This photo was taken in 2003, when she was just a few years old. We had so many adventures over the years; I don’t know how much less I might have lived, how much more closed I’d have been, had I not taken her home from the veterinary hospital where I worked. It was 2001, and she’d been found, hairless and bruised and infected with mange and scabies and worms, in Bayou St. John; they dropped her with us, but she was nearly feral. In taking care of her, I bonded with her and took her home over the reasonable objections of many there, who’d noted how damaged and neurotic she was.
Tonight, Abby and I pressed our wet faces to her head as a doctor euthanized Bayou. She was 13 years old, dying from a bleeding belly tumor, too weak to move anything but her eyes. She was always so tough and sweet, always my close companion. These past years in San Francisco were a dream for her, and I guess I’ll try to hang on to that now that she’s gone.
A few weeks ago, Abby, her mother and I traveled to Tahoe, which I found more beautiful in summer than in winter, marauding bears notwithstanding. If you delight in photographs of the pale in clear waters, of scenic Alpine forests, of fields of wildflowers, or of dogs wrapped in hip or grandmotherly garments, you might like the complete set.
On Saturday, Nika, Abby, Five, Bayou, and I went to Tomales Bay to eat oysters and play in the sun. Above, Abs kills some apple cider just off of Highway One shortly before the dogs find a snake.
Bayou hurt her paw somewhere in the rivers of broken glass and chicken bones that San Francisco calls sidewalks, but Five seems to be feeling much better. Abby and I took them on limited adventures this weekend in the midst of Valentine’s Day celebrations.
And yes, Riaz: I want to be seen hatted or not at all from now on; this GPOYW is a first step in that campaign.
We were pretty certainFive would need to be put down, so we took some last-minute family portraits before we went to the veterinary hospital. Incredibly, he seems to have largely recovered, and he was well enough that I took him to Tahoe so he could have a last frolic, in case he is near his end. It was their first time in real snow, in real mountains.
Bayou and Five adore San Francisco, both the city proper, through which they walk leashless and lollygagging every day, delighting in the sights and sounds and smells, and the incredible amount of greenspace in the neighborhoods and around the area. Today we went to Fort Funston.
Abby and I bought some boiled crawfish from Mr. Lee at the corner store; we forgot ice cream, but remembered paper towels. With Bayou and Five, we went to the park around the corner, where we always go, and ate four of the six pounds, along with potatoes and corn. Abs even sucked the heads! I fed some of the feast to my dogs, including two cobs which they devoured whole. Then we lay in the grass and napped for a while, being kids and getting sunburned.
My relationship with Abby began when, because she couldn’t figure out how else to do it, she sent me a message on Flickr to ask if we could be pen pals. I have a difficult time with the material world, so since then I’ve only made her a few things, and even for Valentine’s Day she had to settle for flowers someone else made (which Syd helped order!).
Meanwhile, I’ve received scores of little things too amazing to believe, including a Christmas present I dearly love, too much to use: a tin filled with tiny cards, each bearing some phrase from our time together, some note, a drawing, and so on, like a card catalog of affectionate fragments. The idea is that I can open them when she’s not here, but I always worry that I’ll need them more someday, that I should save them.
For Valentine’s Day, she made me an adorable card with a fabric heart and a beautiful note on the back. It sits on my bedside table, with some moss, a cube of pyrite, little envelopes, and other gifts she’s sent.
"My dog barks some.Mentally you picture my dog, but I have not told you the type of dog which I have. Perhaps you even picture Toto, from The Wizard of Oz. But I warn you, my dog is always with me!”
And I will show you something different from either Your shadow at morning striding behind you Or your shadow at evening rising to meet you; I will show you fear in a handful of dust.