Our dog never gives up. She strains in the leash toward our neighbor’s property, tugging at what holds her back from getting what she wants, which is the same thing she wanted yesterday and will want tomorrow: the cat next door, Delilah.
Delilah is orange and white, and accustomed to dogs and the great outdoors. She is bored of us, only a little wary as we pass by on the street. She does not flinch from her spot in the driveway. She tucks her paws under her and hunkers down. Watches. Waits.
Our dog looks for Delilah when we go out the front door, which is many times a day, and when we take a walk, which is usually twice, sometimes three times in 24 hours. Our dog stands still and stares when she spots Delilah, and then, if we are within about ten feet, she has been known to charge at the cat (but leashed, the dog does not get far). Our dog wags her tail, but the charging makes me anxious, her goal either to play or gobble. So I rein in our dog’s exuberance at finding her frenemy, but I admit, I always enjoy the show.
Our dog never tires of the cat, or trying to find the cat, or sniffing around to catch a scent of the cat. And it’s this all-in attitude I love. For me, good writing—that is, the days where writing comes easily, naturally—can be much the same as Delilah: elusive, seemingly just around the corner, or in my sight but with a yeah-what-do-you-want look and a hiss that frightens me at my keyboard. Still, I wake every morning and hope this day to find it: the writing smooth, easy, the piece a beauty. Is my goal to play or devour? I don’t know yet.
But I don’t give up. And it’s my dog’s never-give-in trait above all others that impels me to leave just the storm door between her and the cat, when Delilah sometimes wanders over. I want our dog to believe all dreams can come true, if she is simply patient, if she just keeps her eye on the thing she wants, if she pulls toward it, tugging against whatever holds her back, every single day.