The last picture of the big dog..

October 11th 2009

Runyon Canyon 8am.

Many dogs, did not count exact number. Fewer people. Overcast but from the top of the canyon I am able to see the ocean through the light mist.

On the way up I overheard an industry type talking with his female friend about our VH1 show. It was oddly satisfying. The last days of anonymity. I don’t suppose people here or in New York will see the show. Few of my friends watch that kind of TV, even if I am in it.

The little dog scampered through the dry brush hunting for small mammals. In London we had the privilege of Battersea Park. Dogs unleashed charging around the huge, manicured lawns. In Whitstable he explored the beaches, in Paris the Tuilleries and the Jardin des Plantes. It really was a magical time for the Little Dog. After all he has been through.

The Little Dog was found behind a trashcan in east LA. 8 months old, his eye badly cut, his paw broken, traumatized by cruelty. Thankfully he was nursed to health and not murdered at the pound. When I first met him he was angry and distrustful. My friends urged me to get a less damaged dog but I recognized in him what had been so badly lacking in my early childhood. He was desperate for love. For three weeks he barked at me and pooed in the house and peed any time I would go near him. Then one quiet night I lay on the sofa and he hopped up beside me and our great love began.

We have had quite an adventure. We drove to New York and back (twice), visiting the Grand Canyon, Albuquerque (where we smuggled him into a hotel room), Memphis (where he ate at the interstate barbeque) and other cities along the way. We arrived in New York to frozen pavements and new snow. The Little Dog loves cities, he checks every path and every bush. He screams like a child when he sees a cat or a squirrel and leaps acrobatically at pigeons. He doesn’t appreciate being taken to a dog specific park, he sits beside me looking at the other dogs disdainfully. Once, in Tompkin Square Park he caught a rat but when it squealed he let it go.

The reason we drove to New York rather than take the plane, as we do now, was that at that time I had another dog. A beautiful Boxer/Pitt originally called Maggie but became my Big Dog. She arrived a month after The Little Dog. The three of us carved a life for ourselves in Malibu. Maggie was the most sweet, intelligent, funny dog. Everybody who met her immediately fell in love with her. She loved the Little Dog and taught him how to hunt, routinely catching lizards and gophers and squirrels. She really was a remarkable dog. She would go to any lengths to find a thrown ball, and if there were more than one she would herd them with her huge paws until they were just where she wanted them. The little dog and the big dog were inseparable. They would spend hours patrolling the huge Malibu garden then come home at dusk and lay happy and exhausted by the roaring fire.

She would have loved Whitstable but God had other plans for us.

On June 30th at 7.50am she was killed by a truck on Franklin Avenue. Unable to control her urge to catch squirrels she leapt across the road. She didn’t get killed on the way over. She was making her way back to me. When I saw her on the other side of the road I asked what she was doing? She tried to make her way back but the truck, unable to see her, tangled her in its wheels and scraped her across the road. From her face to her waist she was fine but below her waist she was torn to pieces.

She was desperate to live and held on until we got to the animal hospital but the vet could not save her and my darling Big Dog died in my arms.

We buried her in the garden in Malibu. My friends came from all over LA. Paul dug the hole and Sarah sang a beautiful lullaby.

I think about her every day. I remember her velvet brow. I miss her in the evenings in Malibu when she would fearlessly chase away the deer and the coyote. We both miss her. I had never been so sad, not when my grand mother died, not when relationships had ended. I cried solidly for a week until I had no more tears.

The most important thing the big dog taught me was to go into any situation with my tail wagging and if people don’t want anything to do with you not to take it personally.

Some day soon we will find another dog for The Little Dog to play with but when the time is right.