Birthdays and dogs: Missing Emma

Today, as I turn 23, I am musing on dogs. Of course.

My dog obsession has reached nearly unsustainable levels. Just ask my sweet, patient husband. I talk about dogs all the time. I dream about them. Dogs are the first and last thing on my mind every day. It’s embarrassing and bordering on psychological mania, but I DON’T KNOW WHAT TO DO. (My boss, a fellow dog enthusiast, and I talked about it and mutually agreed that it would be in our company’s best interests if they blocked PetFinder for both of us.) We can’t have dogs in our current apartment and we’ve committed to living here until May 2012. I may not make it that long, but I am going to undergo a Year of Patience and Character-Building while I wait for my own dog.

I think a lot about our childhood dog, Emma. I picked her out of the litter, around my birthday, and I was responsible for choosing the breed (Australian Shepherd). We loved her a lot, but we also didn’t give her everything she needed. I have regrets. I was young and I didn’t give her enough attention. I also underestimated an Aussie’s need to have a job. I was too busy being 15 and worrying about boys and stuff. Her barking and herding were natural expressions of her breed heritage, but we saw these traits as nuisances and weren’t caring enough to give her appropriate channels for her energy. When we moved to our new house, my parents gave her away to family friends who lived on a farm. Emma, however, was allowed run around unchecked and was soon killed by a truck she was chasing. I wish she were still alive so I could re-adopt her now. In many ways, she was an exceptional dog. Her intelligence was remarkable and I still subjectively believe I haven’t seen a more beautiful dog in my life. She deserved better, and today, I just want her back.

So, please excuse me while I mull over my regrets and tear up at the last remaining pictures I have of her. I know. I have a problem. But look at her face! My sweet, crazy birthday dog.

Emma as a puppy.
Kelsey and Emma at our grandparent's house.
Sam and Emma were primarily family rivals for the position of the youngest child.
Dad was responsible for undoing all of the obedience training I had done with her.
She was really terrible about riding in the car. She started drooling and foaming and we had to give her Dramamine.
She was very happy, though.
Pride Week.
She did love family camping trips.
I always felt like she was one step ahead of me.
I named her Emma after the Austen novel. They were both unbelievably pretty and arrogant.
On squirrel patrol. Miss you, Em.

OK. Done with the self-indulgence. But I do miss her often. Anyone have any tips on how to stave off dog mania? I can’t keep living like this. Just ask Guion.

Monday Snax

First: HAPPY 19th BIRTHDAY, GRACE! You are, by far, the most accomplished and incredible 19-year-old I’ve ever met. I will never be as cool as you. Hope your migrant worker-life in New Zealand is still going well and that you will come back soon. Very soon. I feel like I’ve been living for a year without you already.

“Mmm, that’s what that veggie burger was missing: Some meat.”–Guion at lunch, after putting some bacon on his “garden vegetable” Boca burger. Cue eye-roll sequence.

I had a busy week, kids. Slim pickings with the Snax today. The links generally involve cute animals, though, so there’s that.

Happy Year of the Rabbit from Frances and Angela! The cutest Chinese New Year’s card I’ve ever received. (WXTCHOU)

There Was an NPR Story About That; Let Me Find It. Work it, American Eskimo Dog with the laptop. (Hipster Puppies)

These Corgis Are Really Good at Tetherball. Just because. (Best Week Ever)

Self-Portraits by Ari Gabel. Haunting and so interesting; I feel like there is a story lurking beneath each photograph. (Miss Moss)

Pratt Libraries Ex Libris Collection. Because, well, it’s our name, and because I always loved getting pretty bookplates when I was little, even though they’re fairly impractical things to spend money on. (Wolf Eyebrows)

Famous Authors and Their Animal Counterparts. These pairings are really great. Joan Didion? The perfect nightingale. And John Updike really does look just like that elephant. Any author/animal pairs you’d suggest? I’d like to nominate G.K. Chesterton as a walrus. (Flavorwire)