Home / World News / Opinion | In a Miserable Year, I Had the Dodgers and a Stray Dog

Opinion | In a Miserable Year, I Had the Dodgers and a Stray Dog

“You’re a Mookie,” I announced to him on the first day, and he seemed to agree — or at least he didn’t disagree. He looked the part: squat, gentle but inscrutable, gremlin-like. And he was older, with the long-suffering air that reminded me of the protagonist Mookie in Spike Lee’s “Do the Right Thing.”

But I discovered that this Mookie was also improbably upbeat and self-confident. He would grab a treat from my hand with an almost savage gusto, then wait for another, his marble eyes staring without blinking or betraying emotion, like a ballplayer at bat. He was capable of great joy, moments in which his mouth would split open into a smile that almost went ear to ear. At those moments, I liked to imagine him out in right field, patrolling his territory, snuffling the ground until it was time to nab a fly ball on the run or stoop for a basket catch.

Mookie was also tough, undeterrable, skilled in the art of the comeback. Not long after I adopted him, he was attacked by my neighbor’s German shepherd, and he spent a week in a veterinary hospital recovering from surgery to resection his intestine. I was distraught — I had given him sanctuary, only to expose him to an ambush — but Mook voiced no complaints, not even a whimper. He recovered without complications. He also had a condition that caused his back feet to drag, to the point that they sometimes bled on the concrete. A neurologist suggested I crate him for a month. I balked. A month? That was too much time on the bench. I gambled: We kept walking, but I wrapped his back feet in nylon rain boots. After a month or so, he didn’t need the boots anymore.

Fully healed — or as healed as he was going to be — Mookie started to revel in his new success. On our walks he often broke into a full trot, face lit by that impossible grin, ears flopping, tongue dangling from one side of his mouth like a cigarette. Watching him was briefly but totally satisfying, like watching a Dodger ball sail over an outfield fence for a home run. Mookie was the unqualified bright spot in many of my darker days as I wrestled with so much during the year — my father’s death, fears that the death of democracy was pending, happiness itself.

Meanwhile the Dodgers, like the rest of baseball, made their way through the maze of Covid-19. They played without fans; games were suspended when necessary. They persevered in an imperfect season that kept reinventing itself. More and more, my Mookie felt like the mascot for the moment, and for a perilous year. When the Dodgers made it to the World Series and promptly teetered once again on the brink of collapse, I didn’t hold my breath — this was 2020, after all. But then they overcame, powered by Mookie Betts’s home run in the final game. Serendipity was now synergy: I resolved to buy a dog-size Dodger jersey with Betts’s name and number on the back, for Christmas. Mookie deserved the recognition.

About brandsauthority

Check Also

Myanmar’s Military Deploys Digital Arsenal of Repression in Crackdown

During a half century of military rule, Myanmar’s totalitarian tools were crude but effective. Men …

%d bloggers like this: