Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Bringing the dead to life

I'm not sure why I did it, but today I led Tiger, Squirrel and Shark to an assortment of dead dogs in a glass cabinet.

In my head, the hour-seconds toil by in company to the dead dogs.

They subsume me with the finite. My body wants to drop and buckle to the floor. I could try and shout out my defence, but I already know my hollowed words would wither up, so I would howl only DEAD DEAD DEAD. I'd echo it over and over, glassy eyed unblinking, until I am hauled away by mercy staff and given lifeblood by the sight of a fresh green leaf.

That's how acres of dead dog impact on me.

But not for Shark, Squirrel and Tiger.

They peer in at the glass, puzzled and fascinated. Particularly by the curiosity of wet noses and stiff upright tails.

I wonder if it's because they know they can advance, and lift cautious fingers right up to the dead and living faces. These creatures that they dread, the ones they thought were birthed from hell, twitch in reply not a muscle, lift not a paw, show not a tooth from a moist and panting mouth. Not one dog turns so much as a swivelling eyeball.

Shark, Squirrel and Tiger, you confound me. You truly do. Because then you bring these dead things to life. You tell me how you could take a dog from behind the glass, and make it the character of a story. You'd give it a name, and a place, and have it play a part.

It could be a touch and feel story, says Shark, and we could stitch the book with fabrics and furry offcuts, and we could show our story to Bea.

Bea is a life force aged 18 months. Her grandma brings her to stare at our faces and our kitchen walls. Shark says we could show Bea our home-made story book. Perhaps it would be a story about a puppy dog who crosses mountains and deserts and oceans to get home alive.

Children, all I can say, is that you amaze me.

And if you carry on lifting up my beaten, overwhelmed, dead spirit like that, I'm almost considering seeing if tonight, with your support, I can stand upright on the bathwater.


Sugarplum Kawaii said...


My Grandma wore a dead fox scarf with beady eyes wrapped around her neck. It had claws too. Most unnerving.

Tring....sounds a good day out...i must go sometime with my 3 (-:

sharon said...

Stuffed dead things give me the creeps and always have. Ewwww, shudder!

Big mamma frog said...

When I was a kid my toothless next door neighbour had a glass case of stuffed birds (you know, the real victorian thing). I still have shivers when I think of it.

But 'stuffed dogs' seems even more macabre. I mean we're all used to wild things being stuffed in museaums...but pets? erwwgh.

Deb said...


Grit said...

i'm looking on the bright side, folks, and i have to say that one of the great advantages of a dead dog is that it doesn't woof.