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July 10, 2012: Rainbow

It’s raining, a cold wet drizzle on the very edge of being a cold, wet downpour. I prefer this weather to 100 degree plus temperatures. All you can do when it’s that hot is to sit with your feet in a bucket of ice cubes and fan yourself with a day-old newspaper. What fun is this? There are more options available on rainy days. If you wish, you can sit around and give serious thought to matters of little consequence.

This morning, I got to thinking that God, the man in the robe with the long white hair—is a creation of the male mind, the one that we supposedly should defer to in considering serious matters of very little consequence. God may very well be what the patriarchy thinks he is. But at the same time, God may also be what the rest of us think he is.

I think that God is dog. If God is a dog, and Rainbow is a dog, then Rainbow is god. For sure, Rainbow is God in that she’s a spirit dog. Spirit dogs are dogs that transform your life. This is true of Rainbow, who took my life in an unexpected direction. She has taught me that our interacting with animals is what (in the words of Temple Grandin) makes us human.

Pete and my first dog, Bootleg, was also spirit dog. She solidified the connection between me and Pete. She died shortly after we moved to Alaska, and is buried on the hill that overlooks our place.

Rainbow came upon me in Montana, as I was bicycling in the Silver Bow Valley. After too much deliberation, Pete and I took her on. She was a handful, so I enrolled her in an agility class. This was being held in a horse arena. The sound, smell, and sight of horses triggered a buried interest. I signed up for lessons. Shortly thereafter, we left Butte, but by then the horse interest had surfaced. I began taking a horse course shortly after our return to Alaska. This lead to my taking a job as a pen cleaner. And my taking a job as pen cleaner lead to my acquiring a horse.


Rainbow at the Kennicott glacier


Rainbow crossing a makeshift bridge over Moose Creek




Other animals followed on Rainbow’s tail. The chow time is now time lineup now includes Raudi, Siggi, (horses) Ranger, Rover, Peaches (goats) Tinni, (horse) Henny Penny Palin, (chicken) Jenna (dog), Signy (horse) Snooky (chicken) and Hrimmi. In this time, three other chickens came and went – Stubbi, Catchi, and Nimby are now buried alongside Bootleg.

Rainbow, who is and always will be our number one animal, now takes great delight in making sure that the others are in what she considers to be their proper place. She’ll often chase, and sometimes herd. Rainbow has one problem, and this is that she disagrees with us as to what constitutes her proper place. If we allowed it, she’d range freely and far. It was with some regret that we put an electric invisible fence around the perimeter of our property after we moved here, for we knew we were cramping her style. But, better to cramp a dog’s style than have it shot by a neighbor.

Rainbow’s greatest job in life is accompanying Pete and me on hikes or horseback rides. It’s easier to leave her behind than it is to pony her. But, as Pete and I both realize, it’s important that she also get out. I was again reminded of this yesterday. Pete and I had just saddled the horses, and were planning on doing a longer road ride. I then saw Rainbow, trotting down the driveway, tongue hanging out her mouth. Our gazes connected. Her message, that she badly wanted to come along, came through loud and clear. I then suggested to Pete that we change our plans, and do the Grizzly Camp loop, this way, she could come along. Pete, who loves Rainbow as much as I do, readily agreed.

I remained pleased with my decision, for Rainbow, out and about, never seemed happier. She chased mice on our lunch break, and bounded about in the tall brush with great abandon. It gave me great joy to see her so happy. I later realized that that joy is often underrated. The same holds true of the bond between dogs and their owners.

As I write this, god who is dog, sleeps. She too has decided that on this, a rainy day, she’ll give some serious thought to matters of little consequence.