The list is piling up: wash and hang the laundry; weed the garden, the flower beds, the gravel drive; mow the lawn; scrape the peeling paint off the bathroom ceiling; practice (guitar, violin, vocals, piano…take your pick); evict the daddy long legs and other uninvited guests from the basement; clean the remnants of your cat’s life (gone now 6 months) from the same why-hasn’t-the-health-department-condemned-it basement; work on your band’s website; finish that gut-wrenching short story; work on the collection of unfinished, half-assed, creative non-fiction pieces; clean out your closet of all the clothes you have not worn in three years but cannot get rid of, never mind the linen closet, and while you’re at it, how about those files (code for that brown grocery bag full of “to be dealt with” scraps and non-scraps of paper); book some shows. And then, when you’re done with the never-ending-always-growing list, write the song that The Dixie Chicks will cover so you will, finally, be financially secure (and then realize how out of touch you are that you don’t even know who really is “big” enough anymore that it will actually mean something if they record your song).
But while all the gurus of Living an Organized Life and the masters of How to Be Self-Employed are nagging at your weary soul from the room they rent in the back of your head (make a list, don’t make a list, set a time, follow the muse, wake up early, set a schedule, keep a routine, you wouldn’t tell a real boss you’ll do it after you check your email, cruise Yahoo! News, paint your toe nails, brush the dog, would you?), all of it is so overwhelming, so you do what any sane person would do and you log into Facebook.
And there, from one of your “friends” (with whom you have had all of about a 15 minute encounter when you were down in Austin for a week but with whom you now have more regular communication than anyone in your immediate family or circle of close friends) is a post that asks, if you had to come with a warning label, what would yours say? Without missing a beat, you think, “barks at strangers”. Because you know it’s true. Because you know that no matter how much you don’t want to acknowledge the woo-woo, touchy-feely belief in dog circles that our beloved canine companions’ issues are merely a reflection of our own, the truth of the matter is that you really are not that much different than your little rescue dog, who will bark like a mad woman when she first meets a fellow canine, only to learn, eventually, that it really is okay to make friends with the rest of the pack.
All of which is a rather wordy introduction to the birth of this blog, the beginning of my journey documenting life with a leash-reactive, other-dog-aggressive, pint-sized rescued mutt named Maisie, along with all the philosophical lessons and life instructions and possible rants and raves (thinly disguised as Stories About My Dog) that she has given me and will, undoubtedly, continue to give me. I invite you to come along on this crazy ride, to share your stories of life with your own less-than-perfect animal companions and what they have to teach us about our lives, and to rejoice in the wild roller coaster of life with a non-human. And I promise, I may bark, but I won’t bite.