Wednesday, October 6, 2010
In his five months of dog life, Ned has already been to Nantucket, Asbury Park, Ocean City, Baltimore. He has travelled on four separate ferries. He has stayed in two different inns, an urban hotel and a resort motel. He has stayed in my childhood summerhouse; he has been walked at the service area--the Walt Whitman Service Area--down the turnpike from where I grew up in Cherry Hill. He has been a dog beach, several dog parks, and two dog runs in Manhattan, Union Square and Washington Square. He has been to the Hudson River Park, where he was scolded by a ranger for rolling on the grass after chewing the heel of a very expensive shoe. He has had some babysitters. All this in addition to going back and forth regularly by car between Manhattan and the East End of Long Island. Is this a good thing or a bad thing? This is best summed up in Ned's complicated response to bags being packed. He wants to go along; he wants to stay. And is that any different from the rest of us? It is our condition, or the condition of those who need to move around in order to pay the bills. But at least he knows what home is--or what one aspect of home is. Mark routinely uses the hands-free phone device in the car, so when we're talking, my voice broadcasts through the car speakers. And every time I talk to Ned, every time I say, good boy, his face apparently changes; his spine straightens. He looks attentively at the dashboard and wonders where I am.