“They said you couldn’t have babies, but then buh-badah! Out came me!”
…said my little dog after he crawled into my lap. He’s six now already, somehow, and he loves to hear and repeat the family stories we make after all the questions get asked. Some days this past summer, while walking the dog, the questions are “do you remember what you told me about the killer bees when you were a kid? Can you tell that to me again?” The little dog loves the really wild stories.
I was either eight or twenty months pregnant and guzzling milk from the jug in the light of the fridge. My guy graciously ignored what I was doing and said, “I had a dream you gave birth to a dog! Wouldn’t that be…just…AWESOME?!” I went to bed annoyed. Am I the only one in this house that has to grow up in time for this surprise baby?
Neither of us grew up, despite being old, in time for the human-looking being that finally emerged from my body. We were going to name her Phoebe Jr., but he didn’t look like a Phoebe Jr. He remained nameless, known as “little man,” for the next four days, sleeping under a whiteboard covered in potential names. He was round and pink, and less larval in nature than I expected. He was healthy and statistically in the 50th percentile across all areas measured. He was definitely a human. Sure. Definitely. An adorable human that hated naps and started smiling and laughing very early on. We named him Hendrik, and we call him Hank. (And yes, we know his/her/their pronouns may change over time, and we are totally all for it!)
He’s an epic cuddler.
His first favorite book was Sandra Boynton’s Doggies.
Anytime he saw a dog photo or drawing he would let out a visceral, guttural scream or shout.
His first word was, “Woof.”
He is great at fetch.
He can’t help but chase squirrels.
(He didn’t howl, however, until later.)
Once the sentences started to come, he began to ask us if he could watch “Power Dog.” He wasn’t quite three yet, so we assumed it was a lost in translation situation like when he thought “Marshall” from Paw Patrol was named “Marshmallow. “
We asked his amazing preschool teacher if she knew of whom he spoke. She thought, “perhaps it was Underdog?” Nope.
He started to tell us tale after tale of Power Dog and his pals; Tick Tock Bunny, Tuffy, Fetcher, and so many more. And, he hasn’t stopped. So, we joined him, and it became our bedtime routine to flesh out the stories, he still says memories, from his life on his home planet of Dogland, before he came to Earth.
Power Dog is so named because he has so many powers that he does not even know all of them, yet. He comes from a planet, connected to Earth through various portals, called Dogland. It’s a peaceful planet filled with hyper-intelligent and gifted dogs as well as other animals like Tick Tock Bunny, some kindly otters, a few bears, and some spy cats.
Here’s the thing: I’m not going to tell you too much more of this story because, after three solid years of developing Power Dog stories with his father every night at bedtime and all through the day with me, we are going to honor Hank’s past life and present innermost identity as a dog and share his stories with the world.
We’re making a podcast, and it’s a family affair!
And, when we see him upon waking in the morning, our tails wag and we light up. When our little puppy senses someone is hurting or struggling, he goes to them and just tries to be with them- to provide support and care, and still-epic cuddles. His best friends are his grandmas, and he always wants to invite his teachers to his birthday parties when we ask him what friends he wants there. And hopefully, he will never catch a squirrel.
Turns out, it was and is awesome to give birth to a dog.
We are humbled and grateful to receive the support of our community as well as a grant from Portland’s Regional Arts & Culture Council to produce this podcast with a lot of really amazing professionals!