My mom just lost it. She’s usually totally cool about everything she reads. She hates syrupy tear-jerkers. But she made the mistake of picking up this book about a dog: The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein. It’s about a man named Denny who lives here in Seattle with his dog Enzo.
That dog Enzo got a whole book. He also got an owner with a life. Denny raced cars, married, fathered a child, fought a bitter custody battle, fought off a false accusation…I’m exhausted just reading about it. And there’s my mom, who won’t even drive in the rain, let alone race. Enzo is almost as smart as I am. But I think my sense of humor is more finely tuned.
Enzo wants to return to earth as a man. I have no desire to return to earth as a woman. Good grief. As a dog, I get to live honorably without getting married or having puppies. I get to play in the park while Cathy works. I admit: I’m luckier than most dogs. Still, I’ll take my own species, thank you very much.
I already know how to communicate with Cathy. She knows, “Out! Now!” and, “Hey, I’m getting restless. Time for a walk.” And even, “Sock? What sock? I thought that was dinner.” What more do I need?
There is a scene in this book where Denny says the final good-by to Enzo. And that’s where my mom melted. She said good-by to her old tabby cat, Tiger, just a few weeks ago. And she said the same thing. “It’s okay, Tiger. You can go now.”
We’re not giving anything away. The book begins sad. Enzo is literally on his last legs. He’s ready.
We dogs don’t care. We live for the moment. Like right now, I’m angling for a trip to the park. Or at least a long walk. My mom’s been muttering about Pike Place Market. She’s on some new health food kick since she started thinking about her own mortality.
Too bad dogs can’t be book reviewers. We’d have more books like the one Dean Koontz wrote about his dog Trixie, Life is Good. A happy dog, focused on her food dish, just the way a dog should be.