How many times have I spoken those words over the last fifteen years littered with men, family, cities, neighbors and other glitterati. Three words. I'm. Walking. Max. And during this relatively short respite out of doors, I am transformed into Max's manciple, following him around town and picking up his shit.
Not that there's anything wrong with it.
These are the oldest pictures I have of Max. It was a few months after the day we got him. And when I say we I mean my ex-boyfriend who wanted the latest homosexual accesory, a Jack Russell Terrier. I didn't want a second dog. I had begun manciple duties for the schmuck's German Shepherd (Buddy) when I moved in with him. (It was the least I could do for that poor dog who was never walked.) Thus I knew that I'd have to perform manciple duties for any other dog that was brought into this household. Buddy was 95 pounds. That's a lot of mancipling.
But against my wishes, Max was brought into our home and, at maybe 5 pounds, fit in the palm of my hand. What? I'm going to get rid of a cutie patootie?
Max cemented our future sleeping arrangements that first night in Sonora, California. I had moved Buddy's big pillow to the bedroom for Max to sleep on. But every time I got in the bed Max got up and sat on the floor, below my pillow, whimpering; he was too small to jump on the bed.
I put him back to the big pillow. Whimper. I leashed him to the closet railing above the big pillow. Whimper and choke. I put him outside the closed bedroom door. Whimper to pre-howl. OK. I've had enough. I picked Max up, put him in bed with me and made the following very clear:
Just for tonight so I can get some sleep.
Max slept in the crook of my belly that night and has been there ever since.
Originally published in 2009.