Feb. 8, 2005, Mookie at the Window:

There's a dog keeping me awake tonight, but it's not what you think; the night is quieter than a curled-up kitten. What's keeping me awake is my last visit with Mookie and Mookie's possible fate.

It was late and I was turning off the lights, before going home. I could hear him in the kennel closest to the office. We can't see him, but there's a vent at the floor through the block wall.

So, I bent down and put my hands through and he moved over so I could cradle his head and scratch his ears and tickle his whiskers. We stayed that way for awhile, and then he took both my hands in his mouth, where they fit with room to spare. He mouthed and tasted my humaness, as I rubbed the ridges on his roof and ran my fingers over his teeth. His gentleness did not surprise me, because I know him, but it touched me.

He doesn't know he's on death row and everybody is doing everything to stay his execution, but there's only so much you can do from jail, which is what's keeping me awake.

I want to foster him, to teach him to live in a home and in society. But, it's taking a chance. He's a mix of the notorious dogs, with jaws bred to crush and I have two family dog members already. Fostering a dog somehow seems akin to teaching a boyfriend to be someone else's future husband. That love is the essence is no doubt. That there is the chance for more than one suitable hearth, the ego may deny, but only god knows for sure.

I would not give up that moment with Mookie at the prison window. That he is redeemable, I do not doubt. With the right touch, patience and sheer physical strength, one could teach him to keep his paws off the ladies and gather enough attention to make a leash unnecessary. That we cannot save all those who we love, I already know to be true. And ultimately, all we have are moments shared.

The Dog Leg Diaries
Tales of Restoration

by Karen Riggs

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Eastern Sierra US - A guide to the Eastern Sierra Nevada: Bishop, Mammoth Lakes, Bridgeport, Independence, Lone Pine and the counties of Inyo and Mono. Elevations from Mt Whitney to Death Valley.