No this post is not about the Pope, nor is it about that bulemic cabbage-head whose name shall not appear here, lest it attract googlers of the wrong sort. Rather, it is a post about a very important member of the Vague family.
He came to live with us when I was a surly twelve-year-old, around the same time we adopted a family of four cats. He was a herder by nature, and he often gathered the kitties at dinner time, and tolerantly allowed them to sleep in a line against his belly–in spite of his obvious disdain for all things feline.
A giant, hairy, galumphing dog, Stanley had better manners than you or any of your kin, I promise. He never jumped on a houseguest or sniffed anyone’s crotch, no matter how tempting. He remembered me, even in the years after I moved away and only came home each December.
He was huge enough to be threatening, in the right circumstance: Stan valiantly guarded our house from girl scouts, door-to-door salesmen, ex-boyfriends, and Jehovah’s witnesses; never asking for much in return.
In his dotage, he became a bit persnickety, I’ll admit. He liked cat food better than dog food, but perhaps that was a doggy “fuck you” to the cats in the house. He became quickly addicted to those weird bacon treats, and followed my stepmother around relentlessly whining for them. He developed diabetes, drank buckets of water, and had to be taken out at all hours of the night to pee.
None of us minded.
He was one of us. His six-inch-long fuzzy white fur embedded itself into the navy blue sofa, as well as every black sweater any of us even thought about buying. I’m fairly sure even now there is a bit of Stanley-fur in the winter coat I just shrugged onto the back of this chair.
But is it a coincidence that he bit the dog biscuit on the same day as the Pontiff? I think not. He was there for me when I officially became a non-practicing Catholic and did not get confirmed. He never threatened me with eternal damnation for sneaking about with a condom in my pocket or a birth control patch squirreled up my sleeve. He snuck outside with me at three am, graciously pretending he had to evacuate, while I snuck a cigarette in the garage.
Had Stanley been in charge of things, I’m sure there would be less AIDS in Africa. Let’s face it, he was a dog, but he was one of my generation’s great leaders.