Gorilla Hair.  Never heard of it.  Until now.  Until now because it is now in my flower beds, and it’s there because the puppy — you remember the puppy — was eating all the pretty, chunky bark that used to be there.  The puppy who now weighs 60 lbs.  Bad things happen when the puppy eats pretty, chunky bark.  Do not let your imaginations run amok.


Today I went to the gym.  Ugh.  I walked by the swimming pool.  I’ve been at this gym for 6 years and I’ve never, never once, been in the water.  Is that possible?  I thought, I’m paying for this pool and I’m not getting my money’s worth!  I thought, maybe I could swim, for the first time, maybe I could make a change.  I thought, why is it so fucking hard to do something you’ve never done before?


I was thinking about American books.  Or, rather, books about America.  Charles McLeod’s book could have won an award.  Can you think of any others that could be on the map?


This week Lea, my older Lab, went into protective mode.  For the first time.  I don’t know if she was protecting me — or protecting the puppy, her baby — but when a giant man approached us on our walk she went right for him.  It scared me.  It scared him.  But I apologized.  Why did I apologize?  The dog knew something I didn’t know. Do you trust your instincts?  Do I?


Did you really think you’d get out of here without a photo or two?

Life is good for dogs, gorilla hair or not.

That's the puppy up top. The Lab Pile.


26 thoughts on “Gorilla

    1. Teri Post author

      When I go on a trip and people say, You didn’t bring a suit! I hardly flinch anymore.

      I don’t even make an excuse.

      1. Sarah W

        I found a swim top with three-quarters sleeves. If I can find a decent pair of swim shorts to go with it, I may go out this summer. . . Maybe.

  1. amyg

    our first child was a black lab we named elvis. he’s the reason we moved from a two room apartment into our first house–he outgrew the apartment before we did.

    our poor elvis was suffered from epilepsy from the start. as a pup he had a few seizures and then was mostly okay for the adolescent and early adult years; but then, by his 6 year it started to get ugly. by the end we were sneaking 8 pills a day into whatever we could to get him to eat them (hot dog pieces, spoonfuls of peanut butter…sometimes he’d take them, others he’d look the spoon clean and then spit the pills out when we weren’t looking.)

    the day he died, we had a showing scheduled to sell our house. elvis had been having cluster seizures all morning and about 30 minutes before our realtor was supposed to show he started convulsing again in our backyard. i waited until he collapsed and got the hose read to spray him down. i went inside to do a quick run through of the house and by the time i came back out he was gone.

    he was mostly my husband’s dog, but that day was sooooo hard for me. i called our realtor just moments before she was supposed to come by with a potential buyer and was in hysterics, “you can’t come. we can’t show the house. elvis is dead. he died in the backyard…” you can imagine what i must have sounded like.

    we sold the house. shortly after that.

    and you’re right, dogs know.

    i still don’t get the whole pulitzer thing with fiction. isn’t that entire committee/organization/secret sect/whatever governed and sponsored by literary types who would benefit from having a pulitzer fiction winner? dont we ALL win when a fiction writer win…including the people handing out the pulitzer. why shoot yourself in the foot like that?


    1. erikamarks

      Oh, Elvis…What can be said but they know. They know so much. And I’ve started to make peace with the fact that I will still bawl unexpectedly about Olive in the most inopportune places forever. They don’t go far, do they?

    2. Teri Post author

      Having showed many a house, with many a dog, I so get this. I’d have been having failure of consciousness. Bless you Elvis!

  2. erikamarks

    Ahh, I needed that puppy love. Thank you.

    My lack of motivation towards exercise just now is borderline scary. I don’t know who this person is who doesn’t want to get her ya-ya’s out. I just know she’s getting softer by the minute. Ugh.

    Okay, enough grumbling. Scrolling back up for more puppy happy..

    1. Teri Post author

      I see women swimming in that pool and I literally wonder: Do I even remember how to swim?

      That’s how long it’s been.

      I love this puppy in a scary-love way. I do.

      1. lisahgolden

        Wait. Wait, wait, wait!

        I’ve just seen you. You have a great figure. If I had your figure, I’d be wearing a swimsuit without a second thought. Get in the pool already!

  3. CJ Rice (@leapof)

    I love my dog in a scary way too, Teri. We’ve spent so much time together these past eight years. I wrote my first book with her–morning walks and all–and began my second. Can’t imagine not hearing her in our house.

  4. macdougalstreetbaby

    Do you remember this past summer when I finally learned how to breathe right in the water? Eight months later and I haven’t stopped. 20 minutes, twice a week and I’ve never felt better about my body. And that’s coming from someone who has always felt badly about her body. Do it. You won’t regret it.

    And that lab pile? The most adorable thing I’ve seen in a long time.

    1. Teri Post author

      See, this is what I mean! It must feel so incredible. I haven’t worn my swimsuit in so long I’m going to have go find it. And hope it fits. But I’m getting in that pool, MSB. I am!! Next week.

  5. Lyra

    I love this snapshot into your life, although I’m a bit concerned by relating gorilla hair to the swimming pool to that picture of the skeleton man. Luckily the hugging puppies cleared it all away.
    I hope you went swimming because you should. Just because.
    We went to a small indoor waterpark last weekend. Traumatic, yes. But getting into a swimsuit proved that I was in control of my body image, not the outside world. Although my three-year old provided good coverage as he was attached to me most of the time. Point of this? I had more fun than I ever would have had sitting it out and I proved something to myself.

    1. Teri Post author

      Hahahaha. I hope Charles McLeod doesn’t mind his incredible book being included in this post, but it really does deserve a prize. It does.

      I’m going to find my swimsuit. I’m going to make a change. I am.

  6. Bonnie Middlebrooks

    Grandkids made me put on a swimsuit again. I still have concerns about all that jiggles, but they are so much fun to jump in and swim with, that I forget my flab immediately and just have so much fun. Swim underwater. Ferry them on my back. Play mermaid with handstands and pointed toes.

    Five year old, Abby, loves to pat the fat flap on my underarms. When I flex to made it smaller, she begs me til I let it go again. What’s there to worry about when someone loves, loves to play with my arm wings?

    1. Teri Post author

      Those are the most beautiful images, Bonnie! I’m going swimming tomorrow. Should be interesting. 🙂

    2. Averil Dean

      Oh Bonnie, I think I’m in love with your little Abby. She sounds like such a darling. When I was her age, I did the same thing with Mrs. Watts, our neighbor across the street who used to babysit sometimes. She laughed too, I hope . . . I remember her as always laughing . . .

    3. lisahgolden

      This makes me feel so much better that something that makes me cringe might make some small child laugh with delight some day. Unless, of course, I whittle away my batwings. As if that’s going to happen.

  7. LauraMaylene

    I’m sitting here at work looking at the photo of your beautiful patio/deck and your even more beautiful dogs lounging in the sunshine and I am J-E-A-L-O-U-S. Wish I could be there right now instead of here!

    I recently learned that I don’t actually know how to swim. Yes, I can *swim* about and survive in the water, but I don’t know how to swim/breathe properly with my head in the water. And while I’d kind of like to swim laps, I don’t want to learn how to do it properly. So I respond by not swimming.

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