Your sister had a dog, Sadie. Sadie is half schnauzer and half cocker spaniel. A pain in the ass combination. At 14 pounds that dog thought she was the boss of the world. She had springs for legs and was always jumping around, growling and barking at something – she had the disposition of a human mother-in-law. Other animals, squirrels, cats, rabbits, would suffer the wrath of Sadie if they even looked at Sadie’s yard. Old people could not stroll quietly down the street without hearing from Sadie. She had the mentality of a selfish two year old child, with the legs of an antelope. Today she is an old dog.
You sister married two years ago. She had two other dogs and her husband had two dogs – Sadie was 12 years old and not able to defend herself in the upstart gang. She was moved into the nursing home. Sadie came to live with me. Two old dogs. The living arrangement works out pretty well.
Sadie and I are two of a kind. When young we were both terrors. I watched Sadie in her youth and wondered, “What is wrong with that dog?” People watched me in my youth and wondered, “What is wrong with that man?”
Sadie in now 14 years old. We both are a little different today. We walk out in the yard and a squirrel skitters a few feet away. Sadie looks, her ears still perk up, but she must think, “Well, there goes a squirrel.” She looks back to me and we continue our stroll. I take her with me when I go to the grocery store for a loaf of bread and some milk. She waits patiently in the car. She no longer tries to break out the windows to attack innocent passer-byes.
The young lady with three children in front of me at the checkout hangs her head as she pays for groceries with food stamps. I come out of the store and Sadie is sitting patiently in the driver’s seat, waiting. I get in the car and strap on the seat belt and then notice a Freegan in the dumpster. The short drive home brings a report on the radio about how many more people have died from starvation in Ethiopia. Sadie has cuddled next to me and is beginning to doze.
Sadie continues to care about the infiltration of cats and squirrels and rabbits in the yard. She cares about people walking in front of our house. She cares about passer-byes in the grocery parking lot. But it is as if she recognizes that there have always been cats and squirrels and people, and there always will be. She recognizes that chasing the varmints of injustice is the job of young dogs.
We are old dogs.