Life with Boney …

When Heidi Selig’s beloved springer spaniel, Tbone, passed away unexpectedly at the end of January, she began writing a series of blog posts, in memoriam …

TBone scratches the floor, woofs at his overflowing basket of possessions like it is alive, menacing him. Till I help him up-end it, overturn most of it on the floor, where he rifles and digs, sniffs each treasure he has collected since he arrived here, a little over four years ago. Discards several tennis balls, a giant bone like a dinosaurs shin, three broken plastic vitamin D bottles, a stuffed squirrel whose stuffing he has removed painstakingly via its tiny rectum, half a plastic bell, a squeezy bone that squeaks when you bite it.

Finally, he finds what he is looking for, a white plastic bottle-cap, which he places precisely under his left paw, then he gets up again, remembering something. He shoves his nose into the basket. Now seems to have discovered the real thing, a small bone fragment he lies down with, making a soft harrumphing sound, satisfaction. His bottle-cap secure again under his left paw. He has placed me for comfort to his right. He is happy now.

Each time I get up and return to my writing he corrals me back, rakes my knee, removes things from my desk, snuffling, uprooting a selvage of wool he has pilfered from me in a fit of glee. Because it was mine and he saw how it caused me to chase him, which is what he wanted all along.
Simply put, TBone digs through his basket of bones, while I attempt to write a self-aggrandizing turgid epic of blowhardedness, and dig through mine. As long as I’m next to him, he is completely satisfied that each bone shard he pulls out of the rubble is exactly what he needs at the moment, while I experience the opposite.

Each new addition, edit, amusing anecdote, fragment of dialogue buries me deeper in the morass of failure, meaninglessness, a swamp of pointless exposition, right foot stuck in quicksand, left hand still trying to type. No exit. Help.

Maybe TBone is my rescuing Lassie, and not the interruption I too often feel him to be. If I listen to him and his unending need to connect with me, everyone, the postman, dog walkers, the UPS girl, Clive, and Dave just past the fence, I might learn something.

I stop and lie down next to him, try not to think or question, or ascribe an answer to anything. I have no answers. Only a dog who needs someone there with him every day, every minute. He won’t be in the forever I imagine I exist in, for another twenty years or so and when it ends I’ll regret only what I didn’t share with him.

He licks me, evidently full of congratulatory pride that I appear finally to have learned something and he says, “Who’s a GOOD BOY now? You are! Let’s take a walk you blowhard, it’s like a really great 3 D movie! That’s something you could write about.”

Heidi is an an illustrator and writer, currently working on a novel about a woman and her dog. About herself, she says:

“Heidi Selig possesses the superpowers of the best day dreamers. She has been practicing the art all her life, very occasionally allowing drawing, writing, textile work and dog cuddling to interrupt her steely, nose to the grindstone concentration.”