I have a constant writing companion who keeps me in the present, offers positive support day and night, stands by me on the good days when I’m writing like a demon and on those days where I just can’t seem to shift into gear, hangs out with me while I work, takes walks to clear my mind, licks me whenever the opportunity arises and brings toys throughout the day with the implicit contract that I will either: a. hold on to the toy while we growl at each other in a tug of war, or b. throw said toy across the room so she can hunt it down. Yes, my writing companion is a dog. A 9 month old English Springer Spaniel named Jazz. She’s a happy bundle of overflowing energy in a fur coat, always up for walking, running and playing. And to date, I have not found the bottom of her apparently infinite energy source. I’m thinking of hooking her up to the power grid to make a few bucks off the utility.
Why Jazz? I met her when she was a month old and already she had that crazy, creative spirit of improvisation. This girl never plans anything. She takes live on in the present and makes it up as she goes along. Sometimes that leads to some unfortunate choices. Besides “here Jazz,” my most frequent comment to her is “leave it.” And to her credit, she doesn’t always listen to me. Sometimes I want her to “leave it” because “it” is gross and nasty. But sometimes I just don’t want the hassle — a piece of electrical tape, a quarter of a torn up tennis ball, a snail, a clump of grass, a flower — the list is endless. Sure, four out of five humans think chewing on a clump of grass will lead to dirt in the mouth and muddy paws in the house. But five out of five dogs know the pure pleasure of sweet grass, musty soil and mud between the toes.
I sometimes think I may have lost my mind to bring a puppy in the house. She requires lots of attention. However, I also know having her around keeps my feet on the ground. Writing can be a lonely business. A little unconditional love from Jazz goes a long way.