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  Jonathan Carroll

In one of his stories, Gabriel Márquez says there are long loves and short loves. This is true about dogs as well in that there are great dogs and nice dogs. The greatest dogs become part of myth; great dogs part of a person or a family's history. Their personalities, adventures, quirks, tricks, and love are cherished and embellished down the years until they are legend in a small but essential way. And all people, animals, triumphs or messes. Without them, we are only names in the phone book. With them, we give off the scent of immortality.

Although I have owned and loved dogs all my life, I have never had a great one. Some were clever, or witty, odd, diplomatic...what have you. Others, I must admit, were lumps in a flea collar their whole lives. Nothing but dinner interested them and the chance to go outside.

I have only owned nice dogs and some not so nice. Once enormous and enormously neurotic bloodhound used to eat the piano any time we left the house. The only basset hound we ever owned refused to be home trained and stood proudly next to his business until you came and noticed it. The smartest dog I ever had could shake hands with both paws and that was it.

But I hold no grudges. What other being bends so quickly and comfortably to the curves of our lives Who is as happy to see us as a new spouse, even years on into this peculiar marriage between us and beasts?

I live now with an aging bullterrier and a young French bulldog. I had the terrier with me in California a few years ago when the big earthquake struck. He slept through the whole thing. The bulldog snores louder that any man I have ever known. They are my friends and they are essential and I hope they both live forever.

Sneak preview!

Read an excerpt from Jonathan Carroll's forthcoming novel, Kissing the Beehive.
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Copyright © 1997 Jonathan Carroll.

Photo of Jonathan Carroll copyright © Bela Borsodi.