Martha came to live with us on December 2nd 2008. We found her on Craig’s List in San Jose, California. The photograph for the Craigslist ad showed a purebred Chocolate Labrador standing on all four legs like a cement statue. She had a pleasant face, and a sturdy chocolate lab body, a bit on the heavy side. She had been living with the family that was selling her since she was eight weeks old. The family now had two young children, a small duplex, and no time for their dog. They had named her Dulce. Dulce means sweet in Spanish.
I sent this e-mail to a friend the day before we met Dulce, with a link to the Craigslist Ad.
We are going to see this dog tomorrow night, and the people are going to let us take her home if we like the dog.
What do you think of her?
I don’t have her response.
My husband, myself and our three children drove from Boulder Creek California to San Jose to meet Dulce on December 2nd, 2008. I had built a fence in the front yard to keep a dog safe. The house we were renting was on a busy road.
Dulce barked at us when we came in the house. Her ears were back, her tail between her legs. We sat on the floor beside the dog until she relaxed. She sat down and then lay down on her side and let us pet her. The owners told us that a couple had come the night before and Dulce did not stop barking. The owners did not let the couple adopt Dulce. They thought that Dulce liked our family. We paid for her, and brought Dulce home that night.
We did like the dog. We did take her home.
We named the dog Martha. After Martha in the book Martha Speaks by Susan Meddaugh. We read the book when it was first published in 1992.
We bought a can of alphabet soup and fed it to Martha to see if she would be able to talk after she ate it, like the dog Martha in the book. Our dog was unable to speak English, but she did like the soup.
Martha loves us.
She lays outside our bedroom door at night.
The white carpet is dark brown and covered in hair where she sleeps at night. The stained carpet angered me. Or, I choose to be angered by the dirty carpet.
And then I remembered my Father and his dog Suzy. There was dog hair along the baseboard in his house. Dog hair on the Chesterfield. I liked the dog hair in my father’s house, because it came with the dog. I liked that my dad was not living alone. And now the dog hair does not matter, because my father and the dog are both dead. Someone else lives in the house on Avenue K in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada, The dog hair was vacuumed, the rugs shampooed.
When I see the brown stain on the rug now. I am not angry. It is only dirt. I can clean the carpet. When I walk up the stairs and see the dirty carpet, I think,
“Martha loves us. The carpet is the color of love. ” And I smile.