Slow Dog

Ruthie misses Slow Dog.

Ruthie misses Slow Dog.

(Come friend Aunt Ruthie on Facebook and let’s hang out.)

Not every dog founds a movement.

All apologies to Auntie Ruth’s friends in the slow food movement: Aunt Ruth’s dog was the founder of the slow dog movement.

“We have to recover slowness, reflection and togetherness. There we will find real renewal,” said Guttorm Fl&#;oslash;istad, the Norwegian philosopher. Our Slow Dog was a big, black shepherd, dead set on helping the humans to savor the minutes of the day and how slow they tick when in the presence of Slow Dog.

Slow Dog would walk just in front of Aunt Ruth as she took out the recycling—slow, slow, slow steps just in front of Ruthie, reminding her to relish the sacred act of recycling, the creation of a better planet, an uplifting vision that would help take Auntie Ruth’s mind off how damn slow Slow Dog was moving and how heavy the recycling had become, because Slow Dog had to eat expensive low-fat canned food for every meal.

For before she was Slow Dog, she was an old dog. And by the time she started the slow dog movement, she was an incredibly old dog; 17 years old and still enjoying life, despite hips of brittle bones and arthritis of the spine. Beloved, no doubt. And geezerly to the nines.

In the kitchen, Slow Dog’s favorite room in the house—where theoretically the slow food movement and slow dog movement could have come together, except Auntie Ruth likes to cook really, really fast—Slow Dog would stand silently, directly behind Aunt Ruth as she was cooking. Ruth wouldn’t know Slow Dog was there until, turning quickly to the refrigerator, Ruthie would nearly fall on her ass. And there was Slow Dog, looking at Ruthie with love in her eyes: “Savor the moment,” said Slow Dog. “You are preparing organic sustenance for you and the other human. What an act of eco-stewardship,” said Slow Dog. “Why, if I could cook, I’d cook all day and just for myself. But you—you can cook for others. And for me, too, if you think about it a little harder.”

“Savor,” said Slow Dog. “Savor.”

It hasn’t been long, and the wounds are still fresh; we had to put Slow Dog down. Hers was a good, long life, we miss her awful. And as the inevitable acceleration into fall begins, Auntie Ruth maybe misses what her dog knew about the power of slow most of all.