Dark screen. A long pause and then we hear soft human cries and moans and sniffles; the black air filled with sadness. Within seconds a deep male voice commands attention over the darkness: “Per istam sanctam unctionem…” and the lights go up to show we’re in the bedroom of a well maintained house, crowded with mourners.
The camera pans the room, showing close ups of distraught faces. Women and men of all ages weep or stand speechless, full of grief, left with nothing more to say.
Quickly the camera zooms in on framed photos of a family and their dog or just photos of the dog. The camera pulls back to reveal the same dog, now lifeless, in the middle of a king-sized bed. A young girl sits alongside Dexter, for that is the dog’s name, and strokes it affectionately.
The male human voice comes from Father Hannah, local pastor and long-time family friend, who continues giving Dexter the sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick with Last Rites: “… et suam piissimam misericordiam adiuvet te dominus gratia spiritus sancti, ut a peccatis liberatum te salvet atque propitius alleviet.” An altar boy swings a thurible, an incense burner suspended from chains. Several people make the sign of the cross as a line forms and mourners approach Dexter, touch his paws for one last time, kiss his forehead or his long nose.
A young boy pushes his way through the crowd to see what’s going on. In one hand he holds a half-eaten burger. Another young boy next to him turns, points to the burger, and asks: “What’s that?” The first young boy replies: “Bacon burger.” “Smells yummy,” says the second boy. “It is. Want a bite?”
Suddenly, Dexter’s head snaps up. He sniffs the air several times and looks over in the direction of the kid with the burger. He begins to drool.
An elderly woman in the room clutching rosary beads looks to the ceiling and shouts: “It’s a miracle!”
No. It’s bacon.
I wanted to open with that scene for two reasons. The first is to show how, for many of us, our dogs are family and our love for them is unconditional. The second is to acknowledge that when it comes to bacon, the canine species is all in. So am I.
[to be continued]