Randy, 24/7

Siamese twins, joined at the leash.  Asleep/awake.  Work/play.  Him and me, for better and worse.  Not since training have we been so tethered.  So intermingled.

Proximity breeds osmosis.  He amazes me by being adaptable, annoys me by being inconsistent.  He calms me with his serenity, riles me with his distractibility.

He makes safe strange paths covered with snowy camouflage.  He leads straight across the bridge, diagonally over the crosswalk, circuitously along the paths, up and down the stairs.  He scarfs chocolate crumbs under the dessert tray, yearns to join critters along the riverbank, sidles and sniffs poets and painters.

He has learned main-traveled routes, where to fork right walking north and cut left heading south.  He shorelines the railing on the narrow sidewalk of the bridge over the river.  He descends icy steps one, two, three, in tandem with my left, right, left.  He gives extra breadth for me as sidecar to his sleek, black cruiser.

He needs reminders.  That’s my part on our team.  Keep him on task, override his detours and distractions. Dissuade that instinct to follow his nose down the path to the river.  Or into the kitchen where those lusty smells live.

Yesterday, we had a slip.  We walked in the street.  A car had to stop for us.  I guided him to the sidewalk.  “What are you thinking?” I demanded.  “Get your head in the game!”  Then we retraced our steps and got it right.  I could tell he felt bad.  So I celebrate his success.  He does well and by doing well even once, he is promise and hope.

He demands nothing and asks so little.  How can I not meet his needs?  He is mine; I am his every step of the way.  Three meals a day.  Vermont.  26 days, 24/7.

Jeff’s Note:  My NEA Creative Access Writing Fellowship in Vermont is now more than half complete.  Twelve pounds of dog food down, six to go.

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4 Responses to Randy, 24/7

  1. bethfinke says:

    Especially like this one, Jeff. Easy to tell your creative juices are flowing. Keep up the great work, you Siamese twins,you.

  2. Jenny T says:

    Hi Jeff, Your experiences sound peaceful and interesting. It would be nice to get away from university work and interning for a little while, at least. Your descriptions of the scenery remind me of a time spent in my undergrad when my first guidedog and I took a summer geology course where we lived and worked in different ecosystems. Not only did I learn quite a bit in those 10 weeks, but my guidedog and I had a wonderful and soul-stirring time of exploring the lakes, mountains, streams, rivers and ocean that were part of this experience. I too, counted the days measured in puppy food, as well as the geological and biological samples I was able to gather for my own personal collection. Once again, thank you for your writing. It has inspired me to start writing fiction and poetry again, something I stopped doing because of my grad work, interning and shyness. Happy writing and enjoy the snow. Jenny and her wonderful guidedog Blazer

  3. Sara says:

    To use your words….soul-stirring. Delicious to read. Thank you,


  4. Jan Anne Dubin says:


    Thanks for sharing. Your writing is beautiful and always poignant. I look forward to learning more upon you return to Chicago!


    Jan Anne Dubin

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