In the Beginning

In the Beginning
December 7, 2011 by Steve Duno
dog praying.jpg

At my age, time moves like a carsick dog.  Swoop and stagger, start and stop, surge like a swollen river.  It's as if my time metric has magically switched over to dog years.

It seems as if I wrote my last Christmas blog just a moment ago.  This year, I didn't want to cover the same well-meaning but predictable caveats about why not to get that Christmas puppy- impulse buys are just that; pet shops that sell puppies suck; kids will love the pup for three days and then you're stuck scooping poop- yada, yada.  Nah- I wanted to write something else. 

I wish I knew more about dogs from the past.  For instance, did Jesus have a dog, and if so, what kind of dog was it?  A pharaoh hound?  A shepherd?  And what about dogs in the Bible?  I know it talks about dogs metaphorically returning to their own vomit and dogs eating sinful corpses and such, but does it talk about dogs saving lives or herding flocks or fetching pine cones in paradise?

Why does Santa use reindeer, and not huskies? 

Why are there hounds from hell, but no cats?  I mean come on, isn't it Sylvester who's been cozying up to Lucifer for all these millennia? 

News flash: there are no dogs in hell.  And anyway, if religious standards require a soul to enter heaven, and Church officials say dogs have no souls, doesn't it then follow that there cannot be, as per Church dogma, dogs in hell?

But if there is such a thing as a soul, do any of you doubt that dogs have them?  And if so, does that mean that dogs might be in fact eligible for entry into the fires of Hades?  Nah- they are simply not capable of that intensity of sin.  Owners, maybe, but not dogs.

I myself would not want to inhabit an afterlife devoid of dogs.  Rats maybe- roaches, mosquitoes, fleas, ticks, child molesters, suicide bombers, serial killers, telemarketers, bullies, litterbugs, reality television anti heroes- but dogs?  Okay, I guess there have been a few knucklehead mutts who'd be hard pressed to sneak by St. Peter at the gate (hello Rico), but on the whole, come on. 

I myself am convinced that there's an entire missing gospel devoted to the abiding, unshakable devotion of the dog.  I mean, isn't that what faith is all about?  What priest, minister, rabbi, imam, or shaman wouldn't love to have his or her followers sport such dedication, honesty, and fidelity?  Hey, maybe that's what I am- maybe I'm not a pet behaviorist, but a dog priest, a shepherd's shepherd, the pied piper of curs.  Ah- probably not.  And besides, to properly manage a flock, some of them have to stray from the straight and narrow every so often.  Dogs just don't sin well, so I'm not sure they'd even need my ministerial services.

I could write that gospel- a Genesis for dogs and humans, a creation story explaining the beginnings of our contract, our deal, our quid pro quo- that moment when one ballsy wolf said to herself (and I'm pretty sure it was a female) "okay, enough's enough, there's nothing to eat, I need to feed the pups, and these strange, hairless bipeds have plenty of leftovers just lying around, so cover me, I'm going in." 

And so it was in the beginning, that man and dog would look into each other's souls and see themselves, and it was good.  Something like that.  The beginning of the world's most legendary alliance.

That's what I think of at this time of year- real friends and family, the kind who'll take a bullet or a bite for you, the kind who'll stick with you no matter what, no matter if you're rich or poor or gay or straight or liberal or conservative, no matter if you have a bad day or a good day, or if you're messy or germaphobic or black or white or famous or infamous or nervous or easygoing or fallen or risen, no matter what, there they are, no questions asked, like a dog, like an unshakeable faith, like a loving god.  The inexorable march of time can't make a dent it that. 

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