Everything that can be written about Pearl has been written by my son, Ro.
You know him as Roy. His grandkids call him Poobah:
Pearl was a bit of a whore.
We never kept her in a fence
So she had puppies at least once a year.
She was a good mother.
Abandoned in the country, starving,
We found her when I was in third grade.
She knew she was my dog immediately.
God help you if you got mad at me.
A blur of fur and teeth and little-dog roaring
Awaited you halfway to me. No one ever called
Pearl’s bluff because they knew she wasn’t bluffing.
I think I learned loyalty from Pearl.
Her oversized sense of protectiveness
Extended to the house a little, too.
But not much.
We lived on a small rise
At the end of a long driveway.
We would see her asleep on the porch in the sunshine
But when the crunch of tires on gravel reached her ears
She would leap like Wonder Woman off the porch
And race to the far end of the yard,
Barking the whole while,
Careful never to look our way.
She’d bark at the unseen burglar
Then cut and run a different way to
Stop and bark at other phantoms.
The shutting of a car door
Made her look our way, startled,
As if to say, “Oh, you’re back already?
When did you arrive?”
And then she would trot with great pride,
Paws lifted a little too high
Her head swinging back and forth
As if to say, “Aren’t I wonderful?”
“Pearl, you’re wonderful,” I would say
Because she knew her job and I knew mine.
In later years I stepped from the kitchen
Into the garage to see her curled
With a small cat under her foreleg,
It’s head snuggled beneath her chin, friends
Laid down for a nap.
The screen door springs closed with a clap
And Pearl lifts her bleary eyes, “What was that?”
She looks up to see me,
With a cat in her bed.
Standing slowly to her feet
Pearl gives a soft “woof,”
As if to whisper,
“The boss is here.”
The cat, knowing her job, too,
Looks at me,
Looks at Pearl,
Then trots out the garage
And around the corner.
Pearl gives me one more look
Then chases the cat
To do her duty.
Later, I walk outside
And see Pearl beside the house
In the soft sunshine
Laid down for a nap
With her friend.
Forty years later
I walk around
500 miles away,
And secretly hope to
See Pearl and the cat
One last time.
That was Ro’s memo for Oct 31, 2011.
– Sue Williams