The face of her is grey, but she looks younger than she is, if you think about dogs and how they are 7 times older than people. Bronwyn was loved from the moment she walked in through my front door. She’d had a bit of trouble in her early life, before we met. Starved and wandered all through downtown, skinny and scared but still loving, the old girl was much younger then. Even though she and Ralph, the main dog in my life at the time, didn’t always see dog eye to dog eye, they agreed to disagree and stayed at opposite ends of the house for many months.
I write mostly of Ralph, his dog spirit hovering around me like the ghost of dog-mas past. I can’t resist writing about him, because I miss him, and conjuring up words about him will conjure up the dog himself, majestic and wooly, beast of my heart. Then I write about Gudrun, tiny and new, the alpha dog and the littlest member of the family. I can’t help but talk about her because she is so HERE. Her presence is huge, even though she weighs all of 7 lbs. But Bronwyn, quiet, pleasing, polite, mid-size bronnie – is no squeaky wheel and therefore she doesn’t get greased. She is loved of course but that love is contained. It doesn’t spill out into poetry as readily. It is a love that doesn’t need to announce itself. It just exists, day in, day out. Good dog.
The first few days of Bronnie bursting into our lives were hectic, like a drug coming on, fast and wild. She had been found downtown. Someone drew a picture of her and faxed it. I said of course, please, send her asap. She came cageless and disheveled in the back of an old station wagon. She ran up the stairs and deep into the house. She jumped up on the bed and stayed there with me. her fur fell out of her in clumps and haystacks. There was a faint network of scars all over her dog body, like a map of pain, showing me what had happened and where. Gradually her blonde fur grew over the scars. I can’t see them anymore, as if they had never occurred.
I will sometimes actually rest both my nostrils on her graying snout, soft as anything, snorting her up into my face. The smell of her is bracing, electric and warm, the dogness and the love jolting me back. Bronnie’s not a licker, like Gudrun is – Chihuahua to the bone. Bronnie holds back and waits. If you stick your face out for her to lick, she might touch her nose to you one time, but that will be all you get.