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被一只狗爱着意味着什么?

更新时间:2018-6-21 21:08:24 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

What It Means to Be Loved by a Dog
被一只狗爱着意味着什么?

NASHVILLE — There’s a story my husband has been telling for nearly 15 years, since not long after United States forces invaded Iraq. In a news report, American soldiers were going door to door with bomb-sniffing dogs, trying to persuade the citizens of Baghdad to adopt a well-trained pet.

纳什维尔——从美国军队入侵伊拉克后不久开始,有一个故事我丈夫讲了近15年。在一篇新闻报道中,美国士兵带着炸弹嗅探犬挨家挨户地敲门,试图说服巴格达市民领养一只训练有素的宠物。

Many Iraqis regard dogs as unclean, and American soldiers were making the case for rethinking that policy: Baghdad would be safer if dogs were housed throughout the city, sounding the alarm whenever an enemy tried to plant a roadside bomb in the night. Also, a dog will love you unconditionally.

很多伊拉克人认为狗不洁,美国士兵给出了重新考虑这项原则的理由:如果全市都养狗,每当敌人试图趁着夜色在路边放炸弹时,狗便会发出警报,巴格达因此会变得更加安全。而且,狗会无条件地爱你。

The Iraqi homeowner in the story looked at the G.I. and shrugged. “Then you would be loved by a dog.”

故事中的那个伊拉克房主看着美军,耸了耸肩。“那你就会被一条狗爱着。”

My husband thinks this story is hilarious because it reminds him of the small-town Southerners and country people he grew up among — and also because it is so deeply at odds with the attitudes of suburban America, with its pet strollers and doggy day cares and canine pulmonologists. Iraqi soldiers would have no better luck persuading suburban Nashvillians to banish their dogs to the yard than American soldiers had in persuading Iraqis to invite a dog into the house.

我丈夫觉得这个故事很好笑,因为这让他想起了自己成长过程中遇到的那些狭隘的南方人和乡下人,也因为这完全不同于美国郊区对狗的态度。在美国的郊区,宠物推车、狗狗日托机构和犬科动物肺脏专家随处可见。伊拉克士兵说服纳什维尔郊区的人把自己的狗赶到院子里去的运气,不会比美国士兵说服伊拉克人请一只狗进门的运气好。

As a measure of how deeply dogs are embedded in our own lives, consider what happened when Emma, our 15-year-old dachshund, died last month. Three friends brought flowers. One brought chocolate. One brought a homemade strawberry pie. One brought a barbecue supper and an original poem. Two little girls who loved her made candle holders. (“I need some water, some glue, a jar and a lot of glitter,” the 7-year-old told her father.) On Facebook, 158 people wrote messages of condolence.

想想上月我们15岁的腊肠犬艾玛(Emma)去世时的情况吧。它表明了狗狗在我们生活中的分量。当时,三个朋友带来了鲜花。一个带了巧克力。一个带了自制的草莓派。还有一个带来了烧烤晚餐和一首原创诗歌。两个喜欢艾玛的小女孩做了烛台。(“我需要一些水、一些胶水、一个瓶子和好多亮片,”其中一个7岁的姑娘对她父亲说。)在Facebook上,158人发表了悼念文字。

The outpouring of kindness reminded me of the days just after my mother’s sudden death, when it seemed that everyone I knew brought flowers and food and sweet notes. It might seem disrespectful to compare the loss of even the dearest animal companion to the loss of a beloved mother, but it makes a particular kind of emotional sense. Everyone has a mother, and the profound grief of losing her is one most people instinctively understand, even if their own mothers are alive and well. Everyone who’s ever loved a dog knows the true depth of that loss, even if they’ve never met the specific dog being mourned.

人们表现出来的善意让我想起了母亲突然去世后的那几天。当时,似乎我认识的每一个人都带来了鲜花、食物和善良的劝慰。把失去宠物——即使是最亲近的宠物——和失去深爱的母亲相提并论似乎有些不敬,但就情感而言特别合理。每个人都有母亲,失去母亲那种痛彻心扉的悲伤,大部分人都能本能地理解,即使他们自己的母亲还健在。每个爱狗之人都知道这种失去之痛,即使他们从来没见过那条被哀悼的狗。

As it happens, Emma was my mother’s dog first, and losing her has been a double grief. I miss her inimitable sandwich-snarfing, bookshelf-climbing, purse-raiding, cabinet-unlocking, smoothie-stealing, ever-grinning rascal self. I miss the way, even in her nearly blind, completely deaf, partially paralyzed old age, she wanted to be right beside me, tugging her little bed till it was directly under my feet while I worked.

碰巧,艾玛最初是我母亲的狗,失去她令人备加伤心。我想念她独特的狼吞虎咽地吃三明治、爬书架、突袭包包、打开储藏柜、偷奶昔和总是偷笑的样子。我想念她即使在近乎失明、完全失聪和部分瘫痪的晚年也想待在我旁边,在我工作的时候把她的小床拖到我脚下的时光。

I miss her, but I also miss taking care of her — rushing her to the emergency vet at least three times a year for eating everything from chocolate bonbons to rat poison, carefully dispensing her medicine twice a day, constantly pushing the chairs under the table to keep her from climbing up and launching herself off from the table’s full height. Protecting Emma from herself felt like a way to keep caring for Mom even years after Mom was gone.

我想念她,但我也想念照顾她的日子:一年至少三次因为她吃了从巧克力糖果到老鼠药的各种东西而紧急送她去兽医急诊、一天两次小心翼翼地给她配药、不断把椅子推到桌子底下以防她爬上去再从桌子上跳下来。保护艾玛不被自己伤到感觉就像还在照顾母亲一样,尽管她已经离开多年。

That little dog caused my lonely mother untold exasperation and delight. Emma would drag Mom’s purse under the bed to a place Mom couldn’t reach even lying on the floor. Mom would get up from her chair for half a minute and turn around to find Emma in her place, lapping up the coffee she’d left on the table beside the recliner and finishing off the oatmeal too. Half the stories Mom told her grandchildren at supper every night were stories about me as a little girl. The other half were about Emma.

孤独的母亲没有说过那只小狗带给她的愤怒和愉悦。艾玛会把母亲的包拖到床底下某个地方,母亲就算躺在地上也够不着。母亲会在离开椅子半分钟后,转身发现艾玛正在她的座位上,舔食她放在躺椅旁边的桌子上的咖啡,燕麦片也快吃完了。母亲每天吃晚饭时给孙辈讲的故事中,有一半是关于我小时候的。另一半是关于艾玛的。

A dog loves a person the way people love each other only while in the grip of new love: with intense, unwavering focus, attentive to every move the beloved makes, unaware of imperfections, desiring little more than to be close, to be entwined, to touch and touch and touch. For my mother, who never ceased to miss my father and who must have felt herself to be on the margins of her children’s busy lives, it was nothing less than a godsend to be loved by that little dog.

狗爱人的方式,就跟刚坠入爱河中的人类一样:强烈且坚定的关注,关心爱人的每一个举动,看不到缺点并且只想亲近、待在一起和不停地抚摸对方。我的母亲从未停止思念我的父亲,她一定觉得自己处在子女忙忙碌碌的生活的边缘。对她来说,被那只小狗爱简直是上天的恩赐。

Every time Mom went to visit my sister or my brother, she would leave Emma with me. For days, the dog would sit before our back door, the same door my mother used every night when she and Emma came over for supper. The window in that door is the only one in our house that reaches low enough for a dachshund to see though. She would sit in front of the door and wait. She waited and waited — she had endless reserves of patience and time — and three days later, a week at most, my mother always came back to her.

每当母亲去看我的兄弟姐妹时,她都会把艾玛留给我。一连几天,艾玛都会坐在我家后门前面。母亲每天晚上带着艾玛过来吃晚饭时,走的就是这扇门。它上面的窗户是我家唯一一扇足够低,能让腊肠犬够得着的窗户。她会坐在门前等。她等呀等呀,有无尽的耐心和时间。三天后,最多一个星期后,母亲总会回到她身边。

Two weeks after the funeral, Emma went missing when she was outside with me. That tiny, dapple-colored dog was both willful and invisible: She never once came when called, and she could disappear beneath the lowest bushes, behind the smallest fallen branch. I turned that yard inside out looking for her. When I finally thought to check at Mom’s house across the street, I found her at the back door, jumping up and scratching to be let in. She had been scratching so urgently, and for so long, the paint was chipped away from the doorjamb.

葬礼结束两周后,艾玛在和我一起外出时失踪了。那条小花斑狗既任性又不显眼:叫她的时候她从来不会来到你跟前,她可能会钻进最矮的灌木丛里或被砍下的小树枝后面消失不见。为了找她,我把院子翻了个底朝天。当我终于想到去街对面的母亲家看看时,我在后门发现了她。她正跳着挠门,想进来。她一直在急切地挠门,并且挠了很长时间,以至门框上的油漆都被弄掉了。

That’s what it means to be loved by a dog.

这就是被狗爱着的含义。

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