It’s a terrier’s world, we just live in it

Old Dog by Joyce Carol Oates

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From Commissioned portraits from snapshots.

There he lies, in the grass, in his habitual place, waiting for you. It has been years. He is aged, near blind. But he waits. In the grass, in his usual place. For you.

He is part collie and part German shepherd. His fur has coarsened and feels like wires, dry and unforgiving, to the touch. Its luster has long since faded; it’s that drab dun color of a deer’s winter coat. He is lying, forelegs extended, shoulders and head quivering erect. His eyes are rheumy, as if covered with a thin film of mucus. His muzzle is gray, his lower lip unnaturally swollen. From time to time his nose twitches and his ears prick up alertly at imaginary sounds; actual sounds, less loud and immediate, he is less likely to hear.

He has become an old dog, you would hardly recognize him now. The bony haunches, the lusterless eyes, ribs showing through his fur. When he’d been a puppy, his small eager body was charged as if with electricity; he seemed never to sleep, nor even to rest. His eyes shone with a doggy intelligence and good will. His feelings were easily hurt but his hurts easily forgotten. He loved you above all things, and has never outgrown that love. You were his fate, you alone. Though this was not a fate you would have acknowledged.

From Old Dog by Joyce Carol Oates


Written by aterrier

July 22, 2008 at 6:16 am

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