I can’t tell you. Really, I don’t know. Years ago, my husband John got me my own domain name and email address. Sorry, don’t remember why. And my criteria for naming my new identity was driven by one overarching standard: would I mind if the name popped up in the Bishop’s inbox? (We are Eastern Orthodox Christians.) Blue Dog made the cut.
I should also mention my dog, Sophie. She looks like the sort of dog who would be a philosopher (along the lines of Decartes in David James Duncan’s The River Why), but she’s not. She’s a dog. She’s a dog’s dog in fact. She’ll sniff out the barely-remains of any long dead animal, at which point she’ll drop and roll in the stink until someone drags her off. She lives for morning and evening mealtime and does this crazy barking dance when I say the word “walk.” She eats her own shit (not to mention anything that falls on the floor–even onions, even spinach). And for awhile–before John (actually, in the midst of a turbulent courtship with John), before Jonah, before Gabriel–it was just me and Sophie. She came to work with me at the bookstore (Eighth Day Books). I’d walk her sometimes five times a day. And we were both happiest outside, doing something physical. She’d spend some of her crazy terrier-lab energy; I’d work through my emotional upheaval, take the edge off of the sadness I always seem to carry around. Maybe that’s where the Blue Dog started. A way to work things out. To keep getting through. My friend Ze Bernardinello took the picture posted here. At Eighth Day Books, the color blue is a kind of religion in and of itself.
The “that’s the big what happened” is easier. Jonah, our five-year-old, has a way with words. His syntax is wacky and quotable. We finally started writing it down. My favorite usage of this phrase goes something like this. Me: “Why is it so cold in here?” Jonah: “The windows are open because the dogs stinked. That’s the big what happened.” Jonah was diagnosed with autism almost a year ago. The news wasn’t all that surprising. It’s not like he’s a different person than he’s ever been, but as he enters school we’ve experienced a brisk initiation into the world of IEP’s and therapy and a shortage of options and an increasing awareness of what it means to advocate for our child. Blue Dog seems like the right name at the right time.
As a dear friend of mine likes to say, “There you have it.”