Sunday, January 20, 2008

The Dog

Bailey the dog above-a messenger on the Pearl Street Mall...what a look...

I suppose i have wanted to write this for a long time...it may not all come out today, it may have to be in chapters or i may never complete the book that i should write....but i am to the brim with it after having finished the book Merle's Door...this book made me cry for an hour while silently finishing the last two chapters in the local coffee shop...i think i looked like a mess after and couldn't tell if folks were looking at me because i had a crutch or because i looked like i was coming down from an all night binge; puffy eyed and sniffling at 9 am in the morning....if you have ever had a dog you need to read this book.  It is truly an amazing story of one man's desire to understand dogs and to love this one named Merle completely.  It will most likely make you laugh at times, make you question the whole man dog relationship, bring up doubts about our own existence and will most likely probably maybe for sure make you cry....because as we know, when we enter into a relationship with a dog, if we are lucky we get 13-14 years of that life and at some point we all have to learn the lesson of saying goodbye to a soul that we love dearly...i am reminded of so many things in my own life, most recently helping a dear friend put her sweet dog down..Lucy...who was 14 i believe and who was soooo sweet and her passing was a gentle reminder again of the former life i shared with my beloved....Marco....ahhh that name....my dog, Marco.....I don't even know where to start...should i recall the very first moment i layed eyes on him; the wildness of his body that had been already broken as a young dog in the ghetto of East LA, the sounds he made as he charged out of the backdoor of the small brown stucco house with bars on the windows somewhere in downtown, the first loop he made brushing past my leg and testing me with his wildness and his dark snout and deep green and brown eyes; stopping at the other side of the yard and facing off with me, tongue hanging out and front paws slightly stepping up and down and finally scraping the ground with his right one and running full bore towards me...not knowing if he'd bite me, i just stood still because that is what people say you should do...stand still, don't show any fear...don't let them know..."huff, huffa, grrr...rrrraaaah", i think were his first words as he buzzed past me again in the sunlight of that day.  I was 19 years old, getting ready to move to Oregon for a life that i had not planned yet, but i knew i needed a friend, a companion, a partner in crime....the old asian woman who had rescued him stood beside me and said, "i think he likes you"...jeez, i thought, what do i do with a dog?  "i'll take him" came out before I knew what i was saying...and just like that...i had my first real love of my life...not a woman, but a four legged wild man with a broken leg that had healed shorter on his right rear flank, and two eyes, that were slightly different in color, and a short stubby tail that never wagged just left to right, but in all directions...deep paws and long legs, a deep warm golden sunset washed the color of his fur with the hints of black and silver on his hackles, and two huge black eyebrows that bore the intelligence of a wise man who had just shown up on the earth, but knew more than i could ever imagine...and a snout, black as black.....I remember the moment as if it were yesterday...the orange tree in the right corner of the yard, the brown broken dilapitated fence on the left, the partially dead dying grass with large spots of dirt from the other dogs that this woman had rescued...the 3 steps that led out of the black security door that he came bounding out of and down past my legs...the blue warmth of the day and the smell of East LA...of the city, of the concrete, the stale world of the urban jungle that we had found each other in...i remember that moment as the moment my life journey began with Marco...we had adventures ahead of us and things to teach each other and things to share, songs to sing, sorrows to bare, hikes to take, waters to swim, drives to take, girls to discuss...all of it, right then and there, and had I known that a mere 5 years later I would lose him, I would have probably never even considered it....but that is the most beautiful memory i have of our time...we lived in reckless abandon together, i know that I gave him my complete love and life...more than i thought was actually normal, until I read Merle's Door...the only time I have actually thought I could have given and done more with him....

I carry Marco's ashes wherever i go with his old collar and tags and every once and a while I take out his collar and tag and hear the sound they make and it takes me to the time when he would breathe on me, sweetly and with the purpose of waking me up and making sure I let him out so he could start his day and i would hear him running about with the familiar jingle....Marco Marco Marco...my soulmate, my man, my friend, my lost love, my confidant, my wingman, my beautiful teacher, my watcher in the woods, my partner.....my dog...

I miss him still...to this day, and now, it is one of the few things that bring emotion to my body and i am brought to tears instantly..as I write this again, in a coffee shop, shedding my tears...i find it amazing that we, as humans, for centuries, have found this love and if only we could make this true of our fellow man...a practice that we all need to learn when we really think of it...how can I love unconditionally....how can i change my partners life by giving my all...

Thank you to Ted Karasote for Merle's Door....
Thank you Marco....my beloved....October 5, 1995...the last day on earth.


7 comments:

Vintagedivva said...

Justin,
To say the least, I was completely wisked away by your story regarding "Marco". Your words expressing your love and the experiences you shared with "Marco", and with us in this blog paint the most perfect picture of the impact he had in your life. Your intimacy with this little gem called "Marco" is wonderfully portrayed in your writing and after reading it, I felt as though I knew him once in my own lifetime, just like I knew you; briefly but beautifully, and something I will treasure for a long time.

Babbo said...

Son,
Marco was here too short a time, that's for sure. Reading your thoughts about Marco and what he meant to you made me realize how much you loved him. A man's relationship with his dog is unique, and Marco was your only true pal at a time when you left home, so he played an even greater role.

You need to get a dog, and soon. And reading your entry today makes me realize we need to get a dog too. Life's too short to miss the love only a dog can give us.

dollymama said...

Justin

I am completely blown away with your gift of writing. I am not at all shocked at the depth of your love for Marco, as I got to experience it so up close and personal. When I try to describe your and Marco's relationship to other sentient beings, it just sounds so passionate and intense that I see it almost make others nervous...I love that, I love that you allowed yourself to give yourself so deeply to a beloved animal (and Marco was Beyond Special) that it puts you into an emotional arena that not everyone quite understands. Oh, but the ones that do understand, those are the ones who may need your book to be written. There is so much more I could say...but some of it seems so sacred to you and Marco that I don't want to mar it with words.

Mom

dollymama said...

Justin

I am completely blown away with your gift of writing. I am not at all shocked at the depth of your love for Marco, as I got to experience it so up close and personal. When I try to describe your and Marco's relationship to other sentient beings, it just sounds so passionate and intense that I see it almost make others nervous...I love that, I love that you allowed yourself to give yourself so deeply to a beloved animal (and Marco was Beyond Special) that it puts you into an emotional arena that not everyone quite understands. Oh, but the ones that do understand, those are the ones who may need your book to be written. There is so much more I could say...but some of it seems so sacred to you and Marco that I don't want to mar it with words.

Mom

Tay Tay said...

Oh Zooty..
I remember his jingle..I love that I have my own memories with Marco..Remember my little "accident" on Montana at 1 a.m?..Marco was there...You inspired me to visit Chico...so I shall...I miss you and continue to get blown away by your beautiful writing and photographs..
xo Tay

Justin Davis Davanzo said...

my family...the best...love you guys.

Ms. Conley said...

Beautiful words about your Marco. I am teary eyed now. I love dog's so much and I am looking forward to the day I will be ready to move on from my beloved Lucy and have a new friend in my life. They are some of the greatest souls that walk this earth. Thank you for being with me on my dreaded day with my sweet girl. A sad, but important memory that I will have for the rest of my days. xoxo T