Letting Go


I remember losing Dumb Dog in the pool at the apartment where I often stayed with my Aunt Dottie and Uncle Brad. I don't know how got in the water, I must have dropped him. I was probably about four years old.

Dumb Dog was my best friend. He had a soft body with short silky fur, sort of beige in color, and felt like a pillow. One paw was forever extended for greeting, a handshake. For a face he had rubbery plastic - droopy eyes and a sleepy grin. Long floppy brown ears that were soft like his fur. At the time he was abut half my size.

I liked to take him everywhere, and he slept with me. Uncle Brad would tell me stories at night and do voices for Dumb Dog. He wasn't dumb, you know, he just looked that way. He had that silly face. He was a good boy with a lot of love to give. I loved him, too, and he was never anything but real to me.

When he was in the pool I saw his small body sinking alone in that big rectangle of blue water. A little dog shape, heavy and sinking to the bottom, farther and farther away from me. i couldn't control it.

He was eventually retrieved - someone fished him out, I guess - and returned to me. Wet and with a smell. He dried out but was never the same after that. There was the smell, a stiffer feel as if he'd turned against me for losing him. It was all over.

My memories of Dumb Dog after that point are of a fabric toy with worn patches and holes. Eventually he stopped being in my memories at all. I don't know what became of him. He's gone forever now, that's for sure.

But the clearest recollection I'll ever have of Dumb Dog is of him slowly sinking away from me into the blue, with that one paw forever extended, reaching up, waiting for me to take it.

Lisa landed in Richmond during a blizzard, with a cat in tow. She remained, gathered additional cats, and put down official roots on the south side of the James. Writing is how she recovers from the trauma of spreadsheets, one word at a time.