“You are innocent when you dream.” That’s a quote from a Tom Waits song.
My baby is always innocent. She is as close to purity and innocence incarnate as any living being can be. I love to just gaze at her when she sleeps. Sometimes, she has dreams that make her whimper ever so forlornly. Other times the whimpers escalate and become tiny sobs and stifled howls. Always gentle. Always soft. Never violent. Even in her dreams. And I wonder, what is it that torments her inside these buried memories? Or is she dreaming about happy things? I doubt the latter though. She has never had a childhood. She was born to chase. Chase a machine. A whirring creature that turns her into a demon of speed, no thought of self or safety, no rhyme or reason, just chase or die. Yes. You bet on it. And they die. Or they live forever damaged. No matter their argument, Greyhounds are bred to race and those who cannot are sentenced to horrible deaths, many bled to death while alive, just for their blood, others butchered unceremoniously and the lucky ones injected with the essence of everlasting sleep. Statistics tell us that about 20,000 are bred a year, and only a fraction actually get to race. From the fraction, only about 1,000 are rehomed and adopted. What happens to the rest? Thousands of puppies and dogs? Nobody wants to talk. They just disappear into the mists of human barbarism.
She is one of the ‘lucky’ few who escaped an early death sentence. I try my very best to give her the love and care she deserves, but I am far from adequate. The other day, she saw a squirrel and wanted to give chase, a natural instinct, much more so than that mechanised lure that they are brain washed into pursuing at cost of life and limb. But what did I do? I constrained her. I always do this dastardly deed, whenever she wants to have some innocent Greyhound fun. I hold her by her delicate, beautiful regal neck and tell her, No. She sees children running in the grass, and she wants to join in, she is happy and dances with joy. But I hold her down and say that dreadful word, No. Again and again. Why? Because she is supposed to behave the way my world dictates, a twisted unnatural social system of human behaviour that is alien as well to me, that makes no logical sense and creates sensorial conundrum and discombobulation for me. Yet, I have to adhere, and in so doing, I enforce my slavery upon her as well, since she is part of me, and my appendage. Just as I am a slave to the neurotypical constructs that bind me and so often constrict my autistic Self, I enforce the same tyranny on my beloved Princess. It makes me sad. I hate it. But I have to do it. I cannot let her chase those squirrels. I cannot let her play with children. I cannot allow her to dance with joy. We are in university grounds. There are rules here. There are rules everywhere we turn. For me and thus for her too. And we must obey. Else my privileges be revoked. And she be taken away from me, or we are driven out of house and home.
I hope she is happy otherwise. I try to distract her with my home-made kangaroo jerky. No additives, just kangaroo meat dried in the dehydrator and lovingly cut into strips and bits. I try to make memories and experiences for her that may give her happy dreams. Because she is innocent. Whether or not she dreams.