A Luminous Halo

"Life is not a series of gig lamps symmetrically arranged; life is a luminous halo, a semi-transparent envelope surrounding us from the beginning of consciousness to the end." --Virginia Woolf

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Location: Springfield, Massachusetts, United States

Smith ’69, Purdue ’75. Anarchist; agnostic. Writer. Steward of the Pascal Emory house, an 1871 Second-Empire Victorian; of Sylvie, a 1974 Mercedes-Benz 450SL; and of Taz, a purebred Cockador who sets the standard for her breed. Happy enough for the present in Massachusetts, but always looking East.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Helping Dog

This year I begged off helping with the Mattoon Street Art Festival, opting instead to donate my time to the Springfield Library, on whose Advisory Committee I sit. The library had a booth at the festival advertising its services. I explained how to get a library card, shamed people into filling out library surveys, and hyped the Open Mic Poetry series, the free movies, and the new wireless network to all who made eye contact with me or got close enough to help themselves to some of the candy Anna had scattered on our table.

But mostly I snapped pictures of people's dogs. Now that I'm working on a book about Taz, I'm hyper-interested in dogs...all kinds of dogs.

I shot a sharpei, an English bulldog, a long-haired chihuahua, a cocker spaniel, a German shepherd, a French poodle named Babette, a pair of corgis, a three-legged flat-haired retriever, a toy poodle, a bichon frisée, a Maltese, a pug, a pekinese, a miniature pinscher, and an assortment of adorable mixed-breeds. But my favorite was this one, MeToo, whose human companion identified her as a "helping dog."

The woman suffers from panic attacks, and the dog is trained to lick her face whenever an attack comes on, which calms her down. Since getting MeToo, she no longer needs medication.

I'm thinking a dog like this deserves a book all to herself.

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