Our Dogs Name Is Martha

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.

Janet,
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.

Martha snores.

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.

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8 responses to “Our Dogs Name Is Martha

  1. I love the connection you made in this piece to your dad and his dog. This is a lovely tribute to Martha and your last lines show what is really important–not the dirt and anger, but the love she brings to you and your family.

  2. Martha speaks and speaks and speaks, only without words. What a powerful message that life is too short and we should not let the little stuff bother us, but instead we should celebrate the love in our lives. Good stuff. I miss my dad, too, and your words bring a quiet smile through the tears in my eyes. And, think, a dog, helped me get tears for my dad today. I love those tears that take me back and make me remember. Thanks.

  3. What a powerful story, touching us at so many places in the heart…from our pets to our families to our homes to loved ones now gone to the way we choose to look at life…oh my goodness, thanks!

  4. I love Martha, too. You have shared her endearing traits with us so we can all care for her. But she loves you – that’s very clear. And you are right – the carpet is the color of love. Enjoy the times you have with her!

  5. I remember at Christmas when Martha kept eating the candycanes off the tree.

  6. So lovely. Martha is lucky to have been found by you and your family. Your house is so full of life and pets and thinking and caring. What a good home for all of you! I love that Martha snores. So do my cats, like two little old men curled up against my hip. As I contemplate needing an industrial strength washer/dryer to get my long-haired boy’s hair off my linens, I will remember that long, silky black hairs are the color and texture of love!

  7. Pingback: Teaching An Old Dog New Tricks | I Paint I Write

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