A dog’s eyes remain achingly sad.
April 11, 2018 7:16 PM   Subscribe

The dangerous currents were all underwater, but the surface was smooth. We were successful roommates and occasional lovers, but never precisely friends. In a curious way what we shared was neither passion nor affection but a certain aesthetic sensibility. I liked to cook elaborate dinners, and he liked to arrange flowers. We were popular hosts. He was supportive and kind after Nate died—for that, I have nothing but gratitude—but after the first terrible weeks when my heart broke and broke, after I fixed my face for going out in public again, after I went back to work, our home life returned to its old rhythms, and I felt, more than anything else, alone. A dog, at least, would liven things up.

A moving personal essay by Jacob Bacharach that sets out to answer "What is it, a dog’s life?"

Bacharach is the author of two novels, The Bend of the World and The Doorposts of Your House and on Your Gates, as well as A Cool Customer, a non-fiction essay dealing with the same bereavement that's addressed in the above essay through reading Joan Didion's The Year of Magical Thinking.

He was previously the author of the now-defunct blog "Who Is IOZ?", and his current blog is here (contains musings on pop-culture and frequent sonnets based on current events).

Twitter: @jakebackpack

Previously (an essay on the alt-right that got some pushback here)

Previouslier (links to various of his poems)
posted by chappell, ambrose (6 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
For people who want to know in advance, yes, the dog dies.
posted by praemunire at 8:52 PM on April 11, 2018 [1 favorite]

Great link.

The profundity of their love for us makes them helplessly sorrowful, which is why even in her moments of the utmost, unmediated joy, a joy that our own nervous and overactive minds makes essentially impossible, a dog’s eyes remain achingly sad.

I disagree. The thing I love so much about dogs is how they live in the moment, which means I see pure joy and love in my dogs' eyes more than anything else.
posted by twilightlost at 9:17 PM on April 11, 2018 [5 favorites]

Sad, but worth reading.
posted by Dip Flash at 9:38 PM on April 11, 2018

I see pure joy and love in my dogs' eyes more than anything else.

To be fair, the author appears to have had a beagle, one of the breeds that has mastered the art of the unendingly soulful gaze.
posted by redsparkler at 9:46 PM on April 11, 2018 [4 favorites]

I’m grateful to whatever evolutionary processes resulted in two species loving the shit out of each other despite barely understanding each other, but there are downsides to emotional reliance on an alien.

I was in a pretty deep depression when I adopted my dog, and it was scary to love him so much. Somehow, I’d found (and been chosen by) the very best dog in the whole world. How was that possible? It made me nervous. For months, whenever I’d walk him, I was terrified that we would stumble upon a family who’d call out a strange name, and he’d hear it and try to run to them, and they’d explain that they actually hadn’t abandoned him, that he’d been lost or stolen, and they’d given up hope, but now......
posted by Maurecia-Flavored Ice Cream at 12:36 AM on April 12, 2018 [6 favorites]

For people who want to know in advance, yes, the dog dies.

Thank you for letting me know. My dog is very old and I can't really handle that right now. I'm bookmarking this for later.
posted by lumpenprole at 8:41 AM on April 12, 2018 [1 favorite]

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