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forty-five years I’d lived, and I’d never been what anyone would call a dog person. I’d always been an animal person with with a capiral A, and I was of course always kind to dogs. but I had almost no desire to ever have a dog of my own.

the clinginess of dogs bothered me for many years, and the need to walk them seemed a hassle. I thought of them as lacking in individuality and backbone, the way they sucked up to humans all the time, and learned tricks, and bowed and scraped. I was much more desirous of the aloof, slightly willful animal; any animal that would let humans go only so far. cats come to mind right away, but even other non-pack animals maintained (to my mind in those years) a greater degree of their animalness than dogs did.

as I got into my late 30′s, I dreamed of a future for myself and my animals (none of whom were dogs) where we could live on a farm. if I couldn’t buy my own farm, at least I might find a rental I could afford. lots of farms around here have mother-in-law apartments or little cottages. and on my patch of space on said farm I would grow things, and I’d have my cats and rabbits and birds, a few chickens of my own, maybe a pygmy goat. I visualized these scenes daily, for years. I wanted it all so badly.

but from time to time I’d think:  you can’t live on a farm without a dog. dogs are made for farms and farms are made for dogs. the whole scene is too off-kilter without a dog.

so what kind of a dog would I want? I’ve always been partial to old english sheep dogs, big and hairy and sloppy. would I get one of those? would I just adopt any dog that somebody else didn’t want anymore? I’ve got to have a dog in this farm life, no question. but what does my dog look like?

I don’t remember ever making a firm choice on the dog: there was a of back-and-forth. sometimes it was even two dogs I put in my farm life. company for each other (and less clinging to me?)

well, since the birth of that farm-longing in 1992, the planet has spun and spun in its irritating, inexorable way, and now I’m 57.  all that spinning since I was still only 39 has launched me into worse poverty, worse physical illness, more failure, unbelievable betrayals, trauma after trauma, and ever-increasing fear of the neurotypical human world. dreams have been mauled one by one. my human family mauled itself, and me in the process. my animal family (and me in the process) has been mauled by yet another set of ravening human beings, and so on.

but one thing the spinning brought me, as completely unexpectedly as if it had brought me 10 million dollars, as shockingly as that, was four dogs. four whole dogs. a pack; and I knew nothing at that time about the dynamics of a pack. four clinging beasts who had absolutely nothing aloof about them.

the first of those dogs to be dropped into my life as if from some passing meteor was mugsy, and he, not by virtue of being first, but because he was an extremely dominant alpha, became the leader of the pack he would soon inherit.

when he lay dying in my arms at the age of 16 and a half, I promised him a book. not that he had any idea what that meant, of course, but I promised it as much to myself as to him. work on began right away, but cataclysmic events and reprehensible people have been on the scenes of my days since soon after mugsy left us, and my death-bed promise has been long delayed. I make a small effort now to try to keep it.


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all photos, graphics, poems and text copyright 2010-2015 by anne nakis, unless otherwise stated. all rights reserved.







  1. witchwillow said,

    July 25, 2012 at 11:35 am

    I read several posts about Mugsy, but not this one, and it leaves me wanting more. I didn’t know that you ever had a desire to live on a farm. Living in the country, not necessarily a farm but with more nature around, is an old, and now retired, fantasy of mine….

  2. braon said,

    August 6, 2012 at 8:17 pm

    it’s not too late for you and the country, Willow. it is for me. Unless I suddenly marry a guy with a genuine income, which I don’t have myself. my income is a sick joke on the disabled.

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