Roshi Hope-Springs-Eternal, c1997-2008
A man walks into a bar. He tells the bartender he’s feeling low ’cause his dog ran off. The bartender’s a tender soul, and asks him to describe the dog so he can ask around, maybe help him find the dog. “Well, he’s not much. He’s a mutt with a snub tail, blind in one eye, torn ear. Oh, and he’s pretty hard to miss, ’cause he’s three-legged.” The bartender’s trying not to smile, but asks the dog’s name. “He answers to the name of ‘Lucky’.”
I don’t usually remember jokes, but this one so reminds me of my dog. Second Chance Pet Adoption found him at the side of the road with a crushed hip. They found a vet to do surgery, and the vet was amazed to see he already had a scar on that hip. They had to remove the ball-and-socket joint and hope for the best.
I’m one of those people who can’t walk into a pet shop without getting teary. I want to liberate all the poor creatures, buy a big farm and set them free on it. If a dog or cat looks me in the eye, I’m a goner. I’d been a cat person as an adult, and hadn’t had a dog since I was a kid. I met someone from Second Chance at work, though, and started to think I wanted a dog to walk. I wandered over one Saturday morning with my kids and we fell in love with this forlorn guy named, “Butterscotch.” He was a little bigger than I was thinking about at 45 pounds, but they were guessing he was full grown, so we brought him home.
He was immediately peculiar, cache-ing food bits, not leash-trained, scared to death of storm sewers. He kept eating the girls’ stuffed animals and took over the papasan chair the kids had bought for Father’s Day. Hub and I called him the “Damn Dog” for a while. He was a talker, so my mother called him “Marmaduke.”
One night we were looking at him, settled feet up on the papasan chair. He was the epitome of gratefulness and let out these lovely huge sighs from time to time, as if to say, “Man, it don’t get any better than this!” Then and there he became Roshi, the zen master . . . so very gifted as living in the present moment, that he forgot how to act from one moment to the next. Hub would look up from his book and say, “Hey Roshi, throw us a koan.”
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