Dogs and Love – Stories of Fidelity
By Ferris Robinson
Ferris Robinson is a good woman. She loves dogs, and her affection to those of the Canis genus is lovingly told in the recently published collection of essays: Dogs and Love – Stories of Fidelity.
Many people—like Ms. Ferris’ sister—may think she’s crazy for dressing her dogs, for allowing certain bad behaviors to prevail, but anyone with either one or multiple dogs will understand the varying degrees of joy and frustration our dogs bring us.
In each of these short essays, Ms. Ferris makes readers laugh (My Dog is a Slut) and cry (The Lost Mother Dog), but also make us reflect on the beauty and surprises that life brings us as her puppy Victor did in “Puppy Training-Who’s Training Who?” At first, the story is about Victor to learn to go outside, Ferris uses the key phrase to “hurry up,” but Victor is in no hurry to empty his bladder. Instead, he is chasing butterflies, smelling the splendor of Ferris’ garden, and exploring the corners of his new home. The essay turns from training a pup to a salute to nature. As she sits in her garden, Ferris brings readers with her and we see:
This is the first time I have ever sat down and looked at my garden without criticism. I am still. Right beside me an oversized bumblebee trundles over a violet butterfly bush bloom. The bee clings, now upside down, to the conical blossom that has rolled over under the insect’s weight. Undeterred, he continues his mission, frantically eating pollen with what appears to be six hands.
There is a butterfly on another bloom, methodically opening and closing his brown and orange wings. I lean in closer and peer at his busy whirl of antennae as he vigorously sips up nectar. He seems completely unaware of me.
I am still. There is another bee so close to me I could touch him, but he looks different. His tiny body is a soft mossy green and he has a fan tail. Suddenly I realize it is not a bee at all, but a baby hummingbird. His whirring wings make no noise and I wonder if the motorized hum grown hummingbirds make comes with age. I don’t move as I watch him immerse most of his little torso in a single bloom of a vivid pink phlox. I listen hard to see if I can hear him. I can’t.
Instead, I hear the trill of a bird from the woods, then a repetitive chirp-chirp-chirp of another, and then a frenzied twitter of what must be a flock of the same bird. I cannot see any of these birds, but know I am hearing different ones.
Having dogs also brings worries of illness and the heartbreak of death. Ferris addresses these topics with sensitivity. But she also brings into play, not our own grief of losing a beloved dog, but also an animal’s sense of displacement and very likely it’s own anguish of losing their much loved human companion.
Dogs and Love – Stories of Fidelity is a mere 41 pages, and it will take less than an hour to read, but each essay will stay with you deep in your heart for hours, days, months, and years—just like a cherished dog.