By Dean R. Koontz
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Extra info for A Big Little Life: A Memoir of a Joyful Dog Named Trixie
The following day, Sunday, was interminable, as if the rotation of the Earth slowed dramatically. Monday morning, at school, I was lying in wait at Gerda’s locker when she appeared in the hall outside her homeroom. I half expected a polite hello and a claim of amnesia regarding the events of Saturday evening. Instead, she professed to have laughed so much during our five hours together that her tummy muscles hurt the next morning. I always assumed girls found dating me to be painful, but this was good pain.
But if it sounded more like a stripper than a dog, it sounded more like an elf or a fairy than a stripper. Elves and fairies are magical beings; and so was she. Trixie came to us not as a puppy but as a highly educated and refined young lady of three. As a consequence of elbow surgery, she had taken early retirement from a career as an assistance dog to a beautiful young woman, Jenna, who had lost both legs in a traffic accident. Trixie went into service just as Jenna began the student-teaching portion of her senior year at college, and made quite an impression in an elementary-school classroom.
Enlightenment came the following evening when, lying in bed, I listened to my parents downstairs as they argued about the curly one. As a consequence of post-midnight, father-salvaging expeditions and other mortifying experiences related to his behavior, I grew up in a state of embarrassment. Because my father’s shortcomings were widely known, I cringed when asked if I was Ray Koontz’s boy. Instead of answering directly, I said my mother was Florence Koontz, because no shame came with that association.