I almost missed the dog, thinking it was a smudge of white paint spotting the darker surface of the gray granite stone. It was brilliant white, its surface bleached and pocked by the weather, and in the tranquil posture of a pet at peace with its position in life. I’d seen the body language before in my dog as she lay at my feet while I read. How did this little statuette come to occupy such a starkly prominent place on top of a family marker? I cut short an evening run through this East Providence cemetery to fetch my camera, already forming stories to explain its presence. A random placing of a child’s lost toy, perhaps. Closer inspection reveals purpose in its placement, a limestone carving not merely set on but mounted to the mossy granite surface. The names on the stone place the last family member interred there in 1980. Is the dog a tribute to a family pet? Homage paid to a loyal friend waiting for its master in eternity? The encounter offers me a chance to explore and reveal facts, reasons, discover the reality to refute the imagined versions swirling in my head. In the end, though, I do nothing more than take a photo, choosing this time to let the sleeping dog lie.
Copyright 2013 Kris Craig / Providence Journal