A man with the right scruffed-up beard and breadth of chest swaggered into the S and M dungeon that was my place of business, and twenty minutes and one grand later had my chin — still soft with the downy fluff of teen-girl skin — held steady in one paw while the other one flew at my face so hard and fast that I ceased to exist as the same collection of matter I had been the previous instant.
When Sarah’s mother, Penny, got sick four years into our marriage, we decided to move back to Mississippi, considering it penance for the sins of our youth. We signed a lease on a house, a white one-story on the historical register with a wraparound porch and angels, stars, and the moon painted on the transom above the front door.
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I was moved by the Dog-Eared Page from Jane Goodall [“Digging up the Roots,” July 2020]. I’ve been an animal lover ever since I saw Doctor Dolittle when I was six.
Unbeknownst to me when I was young, orcas were being rounded up and taken to water parks to do tricks to entertain people. Nowadays the orcas near where I live in Washington State haven’t had a successful birth in five years. Water pollution and a lack of salmon due to waterfront encroachment are leaving them in an ever-increasing crisis. It’s getting bad out there for a whale of any kind.
The question is not whether animals are intelligent or feel emotion. It is: Can Americans sacrifice their easy lifestyles for the sake of a wild animal that needs clean water and the freedom to move about unimpeded? I don’t think they ever will.
I’m glad I’m getting old. I don’t want to live in a world where the only remaining wild animals live in cages.
In the first paragraph of “Digging up the Roots,” Jane Goodall writes, “We might grieve more for the loss of a dog or cat than a person.” My father was a loving and supportive presence in my life for fifty-five years, but when he died, I don’t think I shed a single tear. Yet when I had to say goodbye to my pet cat of fifteen years, it was a week or two before I could think of him without crying. To this day my seemingly misguided grief continues to puzzle me.